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LIBRARY  OF  THE 

UNIVERSITY  OF  ILLINOIS 

AT  URBANA-CHAMPAIGN 


977.336 


I.H.S. 


ojr 


THIS  LITTLE  BOOK 

is 

DEDICATED 
To  THE  CHILDREN  OF  THE  PIONEERS, 

BY  THE 
LEE  COUNTY  COLUMBIAN  CLUB. 


Tale   of  tl]e   'Airly   ls)ays. 


Oh!  tell  mo  a  tale  of  the  airly  days, 

Of  the  times  as  they  ust  to  be; 
" Pillar  of  Fire,"  and  "Shakespeare's  Plays," 

Is  a  'most  too  deep  for  me ! 
I  want  plain  facts,  and  I  want  plain  words, 

Of  good  old-fashioned  ways, 
When  speech  run  free  as  the  songs  of  birds, 

'Way  back  in  the  airly  days. 

Tell  me  a  tale  of  the  timber  lands, 

And  the  old-time  pioneers— 
Somepin'  a  pore  man  understands 

With  his  feelins',  well  as  ears. 
Toll  of  the  old  log  house— about 

The  loft,  and  the  puncheon  floor— 
The  old  lire-place,  with  the  crane  swung  on, 

And  the  latch  striuyithrough  the  door, 

Tell  of  the  things  just  like  they  wuz— 

They  don't  need  no  excuse; 
Don't  tetch  'em  up  like  the  poets  does 

Till  they're  all  too  line  for  use ! 
Bay  they  wuz  'leven  in  the  family — 

Two  beds  and  the  chist  below, 
And  the  trundle-beds,  'at  each  holt  three; 

And  the  clock  and  tho^old  bureau. 

Then  blow  the  horn  at  the  old  back  door 

Till  the  echoes  all.hallo, 
And  the  children  gatiiers  home  onc't  more, 

Jest  as  they  ust  to  do; 
Blow  for  Pap  till  he  hears  and  comes, 

With  Tomps  and  Elias,  too, 
A  niarchin'  home,  with  the  life  and  drums 

And  the  old  Bed.  White  and  Blue! 

Blow  and  blow  till  the  sound  draps  low 

As  the  moaii  of  the  whipperwill, 
And  wake  up  Mother,  and  Ituth, and  Jo, 

All  sloopin'  at  Bethel  Hill; 
Blow  and  call  till  the  faces  all 

Shine  out  in  the  back-log's  blaze, 
Ami  the  shadders  dance  on  the  old  hewn  wall 

As  they  did  in  the  airly  days. 

— JAS.  WHITCOMB  ULLEY. 


n. 


BY  WAY  OF  INTRODUCTION. 


When  a  stranger  taps  at  our  door  we  naturally  expect  to  be  tokl  his 
name  and  errand,  and  if  he  wishes  to  become  an  inmate  of  our  home, 
something  of  his  history. 

To  those,  therefore,  who  care  to  become  better  acquainted  with  this 
little  book,  we  will  tell  something  of  its  birth  and  parentage. 

The  Lee  County  Columbian  Club,  in  common  with  others  throughout 
the  entire  state,  was  organized  by  an  officer  of  the  Illinois  Woman's  Expo- 
sition Board— for  the  purposeof  opening  communication  with  all  parts  of 
the  county,  o"f  securing,  for  the  various  departments  of  the  great  expo- 
sition any  and  every  item  in  our  county  which  would  add  to  its  interest  or 
give  evidence  of  the  history,  growth,  resources,  culture,  or  natural  feat- 
ures of  the  county.  Also  to  facilitate  communication  with  the  State 
Board;  to  encourage  the  study  of  the  Exposition;  awakening  interest  and 
enabling  us  to  enjoy  it  more  intelligently. 

At  one  of  our  earliest  meetings  Miss  Elizabeth  J.  Shaw  spoke  with 
much  earnestness  of  the  great  historic  events  which  are  connected  with 
Lee  County,  making  it  a  point  of  interest  not  only  to  the  state,  but  to 
the  nation. 

This  led  to  her  being  requested  to  prepare  a  sketch  of  those  events, 
for  the  instruction  and  entertainment  of  the  Club. 

We  also  wished  to  commemorate  these  events  in  some  way  by  a  county 
exhibit  at  the  Exposition,  and  decided  to  offer  a  window,  on  which  should 
be  suitably  represented,  as  a  center  panel,  Father  Dixon's  cabin,  the  first 
white  man's  home  on  Rock  River,  and  on  either  side  of  it  pictures  of 
Father  Dixon  and  of  Black-Hawk,  types  of  the  advancing  and  receding 
races. 

That  such  an  exhibit  would  have  been  an  appropriate  and  beautiful 
one,  is  beyond  doubt.  That  the  plan  met  with  insurmountable  difficul- 
ties and  was  reluctantly  abandoned  is  a  source  of  inexpressible  and 
unceasing  regret— but  such  was  the  case,  and  we  record  it  here  that 
there  may  be  at  least  this  proof  of  the  taste  which  proposed,  and  the 
cheerful  willingness  which  would  have  carried  out  the  project  had  it 
been  possible. 

Meantime  the  Club  had  listened  to  Miss  Shaw's  admirable  paper, 
(which  forms  a  chapter  in  this  book,)  and  to  a  second  by  Mrs.  Chase,  of 
Amboy,  on  the  "Pioneer  Women"  of  that  township,  which  so  awakened 
interest  that  we  began  to  realize  the  opportunity  for  co-operation  afforded 
by  the  county  organization  and  to  ask  that  similar  papers  be  gathered 
from  the  entire  county. 

We  asked  for  papers  referring  to  facts  and  experiences  in  pioneer  life — 
especially  thatof  the  pioneer  women,  which  had  not  already  been  recorded 
in  the  various  histories  of  the  county,  endeavoring  to  make  them  more 
like  the  fireside  chat  of  old  friends  than  a  mere  formal  record  of  names 


497294 


and  events.  In  many  cases  the  response  was  at  once  generous  and 
sympathetic:  friends  caught  up  the  spirit  of  the  enterprise  and  gave  us 
papers  that  will  delight  you  as  they  have  us;  others  equally  willing  did 
not  realize  that  stories  of  pioneer  women  were  most  desired,  cr,  perhaps, 
thought  with  the  good  old  deacon,  that  "the  brethren  always  embraced 
the  sisters;"  or  feared,  as  another  deacon  did  in  regard  to  heaven  "that 
there'd  be  so  many  more  women  than  men,  that  it  wouldn't  be  interest- 
ing," but  they  wrote  delightful  papers  in  the  masculine  gender,  and  they, 
too,  will  give  you  pleasure. 

But  alas!  many  others  equally  willing  and  anxious  for  our  success 
"would  gladly  aid  us  but  it  was  so  long  ago  they  had  forgotten,  etc.,  etc." 
One  of  our  best  contributors  says:  "Sometimes  I  fave  up,  here;  some- 
times I  followed  them  up  with  a  "Columbian  Shorter  Catechism,"  and  in 
this  way  I  became  possessed  of  some  interesting  and  picturesque  incidents. 
At  one  time  about  all  I  could  get  was  'the  way  they  heated  the  water  to 
scald  the  hogs.'  I  thought  if  our  book  lived  and  should  ever  reach  those 
whom  we  shall  never  live  to  see,  my  part  of  it  would  be  those  hot  rocks  a 
thunderin'  down  the  ages!" 

Others  wrote  more  formal  particulars,  but  all  have  been  preserved 
and  all  are  of  interest. 

When  we  were  obliged  to  abandon  our  hope  of  the  window,  it  was  too 
late  to  attempt  any  other  project,  so  we  decided  to  collect  all  this 
material  at  once,  and  publish  it  as  a  book  for  our  exhibit. 

Not  that  it  is  as  desirable  an  exhibit  as  the  window  would  have  been, 
or  as  it  might  have  been  made  had  we  known  the  end  from  the  beginning 
but  we  had  no  better  resource. 

So,  whether  you  see  it  among  the  varied  exhibits  at  the  great  exposi- 
tion or  place  it  among  your  household  treasures,  this  is  its  history,  and  it 
is  yours  as  well  as  ours.  It  is  not  all  we  wished  or  hoped,  probably  not 
all  that  you  expect,  but  if  you  are  inclined  tocriticise  the  omission  of  any 
matter  remember  that  the  omission  is  your  own.  If  you  say,"  why  did 
you  not  put  in  this,  or  that?"  we  shall  address  the  question  to  you,  in 
reply.  Such  as  has  been  given  us,  we  give  you,  wishing  no  less  than  you 
that  it  was  more  complete. 

Look  upon  its  failings  then,  with  allowance,  drop  a  tear  on  the  sad 
pages,  and  laugh  with  your  children  over  the  merry  ones.  Teach  them 
how  true  it  is,  and  that  it  was  written  for  them.  Then  we  shall  feel 
that  the  mission  of  our  little  book  has  been  fulfilled,  for  as  Webster  says: 
"Those  who  do  not  look  upon  themselves  as  a  link  connecting  the  past 
with  the  present,  do  not  perform  their  duty  to  the  world." 


.  D.  G.Gfcase. 


e  Fir .st 


MIDWAY  between  Chicago  and  the  Mississippi  River,  in  north  lati- 
tude, between  41  and  42  degrees  and  in  west  longitude  12  degrees 
and  30  minutes,  lies  Lee  County.  Fifty  years  ago  the  Indians 
roamed  at  large  over  the  vast  billows  of  prairie  land,  glided  up  and  down 
the  silvery  streams  in  the  light  canoe,  and  lodged  beneath  the  protecting 
branches  of  the  beautiful  trees  that  bordered  the  winding  rivers.  No 
boundary  line  of  town  or  county  then  intersected  this  part  of  Illinois. 
Since  1680  the  Illinois  country  had  been  subject  to  France  or  Great  Britain, 
and  not  until  1783  had  the  United  States  claimed  possession  of  it.  Even 
then  the  Starry  Flag  waved  aloft  in  imagination  only,  for  no  white  man 
had  claimed  its  protection.  As  late  as  1818  the  settled  part  of  the  state 
extended  only  a  little  north  of  Alton.  A  remnant  of  the  French  Colony 
founded  by  LaSalle  in  1680,  many  of  whom  had  intermarried  with  the 
Indians;  and  American  emigrants,  chiefly  from  Kentucky,  Virginia  and 
Pennsylvania,  had  increased  the  population  of  Southern  Illinois  to  the 
number  of  twelve  thousand.  These,  strengthened  with  the  aid  of  one 
company  of  regular  soldiers,  resisted,  in  the  war  of  1812,  the  combined 
encroachments  of  the  English  with  the  Kickapoos,  Sacs,  Foxes,  Potta- 
wattomies,  Winnebagoes  and  Shawnees.  These  tribes  still  encamped  at 
intervals  in  Northern  Illinois,  and  not  until  after  the  close  of  the  Black 
Hawk  war  in  1831  and  1832,  when  the  Indians  were  relegated  to  their 
claims  beyond  the  Mississippi  river,  was  this  portion  of  the  state  open  for 
the  peaceful  abode  of  the  white  man.  Here,  a  few  miles  east  of  us,  lived 
Shabbona,  chief  of  the  Pottawattomies,  with  his  tribe,  and  Black  Hawk, 
chief  of  the  Sacs,  dwelt  at  the  junction  of  Rock  River  and  the  Missis- 
sippi, while  farther  north  were  the  Winnebagoes,  and  farther  south  the 
Kickapoos  and  Shawnees. 

The  atrocities  and  treacheries  of  the  Indian  have  been  commented 
upon  until  every  one  has  sufficient  information  in  that  direction,  and 
we  will  turn  to  other  characteristics  not  as  often  described;  and  as  this 

—  10  — 


section  of  the  state  of  Illinois  was  inhabited  by  the  tribes  above  men- 
tioned and  the  Foxes,  (as  named  by  the  French,  but  called  Ottogamies 
by  the  other  Indian  tribes),  we  will  direct  our  attention  to  what  we  can 
learn  of  them;  our  predecessors  on  these  prairies.  Here  in  our  groves 
and  beside  our  streams  they  built  their  lodges,  hunted  and  tlshed,  fought, 
loved  and  died,  while  down  in  the  southern  part  ot  Illinois,  as  in  south- 
ern Indiana,  Kentucky  and  Missouri,  the  tlrst  faint  gleams  of  the  dawn 
of  civilization  were  beginning  to  illumine  the  green  and  flowery  wilder- 
ness of  the  Great  West.  Here  and  there,  miles  apart,  the  rising  smoke 
from  the  solitary  cabin  would  send  a  gleam  of  hope  to  a  weary  traveler, 
or  a  ray  of  light  from  some  lonely  hut  would  beckon  the  benighted 
wanderer  to  the  comfort  and  joy  of  human  companionship.  It  is  true 
that  in  these  wild  regions  the  human  beings  were  sometimes  inhuman, 
and  the  unhappy  explorer  found  a  terrible  welcome;  but  far,  far  oftener 
the  mercy  which  had  come  from  heaven  n«et  him,  and  having  been  shel- 
tered, warmed  and  fed,  he  proceeded  on  his  way  to  untried  fields  beyond. 
Year  after  year  brought  new  inhabitants,  and  farther  and  farther  west 
and  north  the  pioneer  opened  up  a  high-way  for  multitudes,  in  time,  to 
follow,  and  to  reach,  at  last,  the  homey  of  the  red  men  here.  The  hard- 
ships of  those  who  led  the  way  to  civilization  there,  were  soon  to  be  borne 
by  the  brave  spirits  who  inaugurated  prosperity  for  us  here,  and  before 
this  story  is  ended,  we  shall  see  wiih  admiration  what  noble  men  and 
women  were  led  forth  by  the  unseen  hand  to  prepare  the  way  for  us  who 
followed.  One  short  extract  describing  pioneer  life  in  Southern  Illinois 
arid  adjacent  territory  years  before  the  pioneers  had  reached  here,  and 
then  we  will  tarry  awhile  with  the  original  lisettterg"  before  we  take  up 
the  histories  of  our  own.  It  is  from  the  autobiography  of  Peter  Cart- 
right,  the  renowned  itinerant  Methodist  preacher  who  commenced  his 
labors  in  1804,  at  the  age  of  nineteen  years,  and  continued  them  for  sixty 
years;  and  whose  circuit  extended  600  miles,  and  who  is  said  to  have 
preached  18,000  sermons. 

"We  killed  our  meat-out  of  the  woods,  wild,  and  beat  our  meal  and 
hominy  with  a  pestle  and  mortar.  We  stretched  a  deer  skin  over  a  hoop, 
burned  holes  in  it  with  the  prongs  of  a  fork,  sifted  our  meal,  baked  bread 
eat  it,  and  it  was  first  rate  eating,  too.  We  raised  or  gathered  out  of  the 
woods  our  own  tea.  We  had  sage,  bohea,  cross-bone,  spice  and  sassafras 
teas  in  abundance.  We  made  our  sugar  out  of  the  water  of  the  maple 
tree,  and  our  molasses  too.  These  were  great  luxuries  in  those  days. 
Ministers  of  different  denominations  came  in  and  preached  through  the 
country;  but  the  Methodist  preachers  were  the  pioneer  messengers  of 
salvation  in  these  ends  of  the  earth.  People  unacquainted  with  frontier 

—  11  — 


life  fifty  or  sixty  years  ago,  can  form  but  a  very  imperfect  idea  of  the 
sufferings  and  hardships  the  early  settlers  of  these  western  states  under- 
went at  that  day,  when  Methodist  preachers  went  from  fort  to  fort, 
from  camp  to  camp,  from  tent  to  tent,  from  cabin  to  cabin,  with  or 
without  road  or  path.  We  walked  on  dirt  floors,  sat  on  stools  or  benches 
for  chairs,  ate  on  puncheon  tables,  had  forked  sticks  and  pocket  or 
butcher  knives  for  knives  and  forks,  slept  on  bear,  deer  or  buffalo  skins 
before  the  fire,  sometimes  on  the  ground  in  open  air  for  downy  beds,  had 
our  saddles  or  saddle-bags  for  pillows  of  feathers;  and  one  new  suit  of 
clothes  of  home  spun  was  ample  clothing  for  one  year  for  an  early  Meth- 
odist preacher  in  the  west.  We  crossed  creeks  and  large  rivers  without 
bridges  or  ferryboats,  often  swam  them  on  horseback  or  crossed  on  trees 
that  had  fallen  over  the  stream,  drove  our  horses  over  and  often  waded 
over  waist  deep,  and  if  by  chance  we  got  a  dugout  or  canoe  to  cross  in 
ourselves,  and  swim  our  horses  by,  it  was  quite  a  treat.  The  above  course 
of  training  was  the  colleges  in  which  we  early  Methodist  preachers  grad- 
uated and  from  which  we  took  our  diplomas.  Here  we  solved  our 
mathematical  problems,  declined  our  nouns  and  conjugated  our  verbs, 
parsed  our  sentences,  and  became  proficient  in  the  dead  languages  of  the 
Indian  and  back-woods  dialect." 

The  Abbe  'em,  Domenech,  a  missionary  to  the  Indians,  has  given  an 
account  of  some  of  the  customs,  traditions  and  legends  of  those  tribes, 
which  from  having  once  inhabited  this  part  of  Illinois,  are  of  greatest 
interest  to  us.  He  described  many  lovely  and  beautiful  traits  in  these 
poor  untutored  children  of  the  wilderness,  and  translated  some  of  their 
songs  and  legends,  specimens  of  which  are  introduced  here. 

Those  who  have  read  the  life  of  Black  Hawk  will  recollect  his  long 
nnd  heavy  mourning  for  his  departed  children,  and  also,  that  his  greatest 
sorrow  and  regret  in  leaving  the  country,  which  had  been  ceded  to  the 
whites,  was  in  bidding  adieu  to  the  graves  of  his  ancestors. 

One  historian  who  had  known  the  Indians  well,  speaks  of  their  great 
tenderness  for  their  children.  Not  having  any  regular  time  for  eating, 
and  depending  much  on  wild  game  for  sustenance,  they  are  sometimes  a 
long  time  without  food,  as  the  hunters  are  not  always  successful.  Some- 
times the  father  returns  home  without  sufficient  game  to  supply  the 
family,  in  which  case  the  parents  invariably  continue  their  own  fasting 
while  all  which  has  been  taken  is  given  to  the  children. 

Black  is  the  sign  of  mourning  among  Indians  as  among  us.  Among 
several  of  these  northern  tribes,  a  woman  who  hasjost  a  child  in  the 
cradle,  places  it  in  its  little  wicker  bed  which  she  has  lilted  with  black 
feathers,  and  carries  it  about  with  her  for  one  whole  year,  in  all  her 

-  —  12  — 


emigrations,  places  it  in  her  cabin,  speaks  to  it  and  sings,  gay  or  sad.  as 
if  the  child  were  still  alive  and  could  smile  and  answer  her.  The  widows 
of  the  Fox  Indians  remain  several  months  without  changing  their  clothes 
or  giving  any  care  to  their.dress.  This  custom  is  common  in  many  tribes 
of  the  north. 

The  Sacs  and  Foxes  place  their  dead,  wrapped  in  blankets  or  buffalo 
skins,  in  rude  coffins  made  of  old  canoes  or  the  bark  of  trees  and  bury 
them.  If  the  deceased  was  a  warrior,  a  post  is  erected  above  his  head 
painted  with  red  bars,  indicating  the  number  of  men,  women  and  chil- 
dren he  has  killed  during  his  life  and  who  are  to  be  his  slaves  in  the  land 
of  shadows. 

The  grief  of  these  children  of  the  desert  has  in  it  something  so  touch- 
ing and  simple  that  it  strikes  even  the  coldest  hearts; — and  often  they 
are  seen  talking,  weeping  or  singing  by  their  graves  as  if  the  dead  could 
hear  them. 

Although  some  of  the  Indians  are  very  poetical,  the  sweet  cadences 
of  measured  rhyme  have  never  been  known  among  them,  but  like  the 
Orientals  they  chant  their  songs  of  love  or  of  war.  "The  finest  song 
known  "  is  the  one  improvised  and  sung  by  the  celebrated  Chippewa 
Chief  Onaoubogie  before  and  after  a  great  victory  which  he  had  gained 
over  the  Sioux,  the  Foxes  and  the  Sacs.  The  translation  is  by  the 
Abbe'  em  Domenech. 

A  chief  of  a  tribe  not  having  a  permanent  army  at  his  command,  is 
obliged  to  have  recourse  to  voluntary  enlistment  whenever  he  wishes  to 
declare  war  against  a  hostile  tribe.  Then,  through  the  medium  of 
couriers  whom  he  sends  to  every  lodge  and  village  of  his  nation,  he 
assembles  all  the  men  capable  of  bearing  arms;  after  which,  in  a  pre- 
paratory ceremony,  he  extemporizes  a  few  stanzas  of  energetic  poetry, 
which  he  sings  with  fiery  enthusiasm  gesticulating  and  accompanying 
himself  with  the  drum  and  raquetts.  The  auditors'  imagination  Is 
gradually  excited  by  all  they  hear;  they  become  animated  with  the  war- 
like ardor  of  their  chieftain,  arid  generally  finish  by  enlisting  en  masse  to 
fight  and  die  under  his  command. 

ONAOUBOGIE'S  \VAB  SONG. 
"  Hearken  to  my  voice,  you  brave  heroes! 

The  day  is  coming  when  our  warriors 
Will  fall  upon  our  cowardly  enemies. 

My  heart  burns  with  a  just  vengence 
Against  the  cruel,  treacherous  race 

Of  the  Sioux  the  Foxes  and  the  Sacs. 
Here,  my  breast  is  covered  with  blood. 

Behold!  behold  the  wounds  caused  by  the  conlliet! 
Mountains  tremble  at  my  cries! 
»  I  fight!    I  strike!    I  kill! 

—  13  - 


But  where  are  my  enemies?  they  are  dying, 

They  fly  in  the  prairie  like  foxes; 
They  tremble  like  the  leaves  during  a  tempest, 

Perfldous  dogs!    you  have  burnt  our  children. 
We  will  hunt  during  five  winters. 

And  we  shall  mourn  for  our  massacred  warriors 
Until  our  youths  having  become  men, 

Shall  be  instructed  for  war. 
Then  will  our  days  end  like  those  of  our  fathers. 

You  are  no  more  noble  warriors,  you  are  gone. 
My  brother,  my  companion,  my  friend, 

To  the  path  of  death,  where  all  the  brave  go ; 
But  we  live  to  avenge  you 

And  we  will  die  as  died  our  ancestors." 

When  the  son  of  a  warrior  wishes  to  get  married,  "he  takes  his  flute 
and  goes  at  night  towards  the  cabin  wherein  she  rests  whom  he  has 
chosen  for  his  future  spouse  ! "  He  begins  by  playing  a  melancholy  tune; 
then  he  sings  words  of  his  own  composition  which  enumerate  the  charms 
of  his  beloved.  He  likens  her  to  the  sweet  perfumes  of  the  wild  flowers, 
to  the  pure  water  that  flows  from  the  rocks,  to  the  graceful  trees  of  the 
forests,  and  to  the  verdant  banks  of  the  river  in  which  she  bathes.  He 
afterwards  promises  her  a  long  series  of  happy  days  in  his  wigwam,  until 
the  hour  when  they  should  depart  for  the  enchanted  prairies,  where  joy 
is  without  end. 

The  following  is  selected  by  Abbe'  em  Domenech  from  a  great  number 
of  Indian  love  chants  that  had  become  popular  on  the  prairies,  and  trans- 
lated by  him. 

"My  Dove's  eye,  listen  to  the  sound  of  my  flute; 
Hearkea  to  the  voice  of  my  songs,  it  is  my  voice. 
Do  not  blush,  all  thy  thoughts  are  known  to  me. 
I  have  my  magic  shield,  thou  canst  not  escape. 
I  shall  always  draw  thee  to  me,  even  shouldst  thou  be 
In  the  most  distant  Isle,  beyond  the  great  lakes. 
I  am  mighty  by  my  strength  and  valor. 
Listen,  my  betrothed,  it  is  to  thy  heart  that  I  speak. 
******** 

The  finest  bears  of  the  prairies  shall  become  my  prey, 

I  will  exchange  horses  for  necklaces; 

Thy  moccasins  shall  become  shining  beads. 

Fly  not  from  me;  I  will  go  even  up  to  the  clouds  to  keep 

thee. 

The  Great  Spirit  is  for  me,  my  betrothed; 
Hearken  to  the  voice  of  my  song,  it  is  my  voice." 

We  have  given  two  specimens  of  Indian  poetry,  one  of  war,  the  other 
of  love.  The  two  poems  which  follow  were  improvised  and  sung  by  In- 
dian women.  In  the  village,  as  in  the  forests,  when  the  child  wishes  to 
sleep  its  mother  suspends  the  cot  in  which  it  lies,  and  which  she  has  or- 
namented with  the  greatest  care,  to  a  beam  or  to  a  branch;  she  then 
rocks  it  to  and  fro,  singing  a  song  which  is  either  extemporized  or  be- 
come popular  from  habit.  The  literal  translation  of  the  song  given 

—  14  — 


below  being  impossible,  the  translator  was  oblige  to  be  content  wilh 
reproducing  the  sense,  and  not  word  for  word  of  the  original. 

"Balance,  balance  thou  pretty  cot. 

Boll  on,  roll  on  aerial  wave; 
Sleep,  sleep,  baby,  sleep,  sleep, 

For  thy  mother  watches  over  thee. 
It  is  she  who  will  ever  rock  thee, 

Sleep,  sleep,  baby,  sleep,  sleep. 

Little  darling,  thou  art  thy  mother's  love, 

Sleep,  sleep,  my  child,  sleep  sleep. 
Tiny  cradle,  balance,  balance. 

Rock  my  baby  near  me; 
Sweet  darling  do  not  weep, 

For  thy  mother  watche*  over  thee. 

Boll  on,  roll  on,  aerial  wave. 

Gently  rock  my  sleeping  babe; 
His  mother  is  near  him  watching 

That  he  may  not  be  alone, 
Wave  in  the  air  thou  pretty  cot; 

Wave,  wave,  sweet  little  child." 

The  musical  beauty  of  the  Indian  words  repeated  of t  as  in  the  song 
is  said  to  constitute  an  indescribable  charm. 

Many  can  doubtless  recall  the  sad  story  of  the  Indian  woman  who, 
distracted  and  heart-broken  at  having  been  abandoned  by  her  husband, 
embarked  in  a  canoe  with  her  baby,  and  allowed  herself  to  perish  in  the 
St.  Anthony  Falls.  When  she  saw  that  the  current  carried  off  her  frail 
skiff,  and  that  all  hope  of  lite  was  lost,  she  rose,  holding  hei  infant  in 
her  arms,  and  began  losing  in  a  solemn  and  sad  air  the  following  words: 

"It  was  for  him  whom  I  solely  cherished  with  all  the  love  of  my  heart; 

It  was  for  him  that  I  prepared  the  freshly  killed  game  and  that  my 
cabin  was  so  daintily  bedecked; 

It  was  for  him  that  I  tanned  the  skin  of  the  noble  stag  and  that  I  em- 
broidered the  moccasins  which  adorn  his  feet. 

Every  day  at  sunrise  I  anxiously  awaited  the  return  of  him  whom  I 
loved; 

My  heart  beat  with  joy  as  soon  as  I  heard  the  step  of  my  brave  hunts- 
man; 

He  would  throw  down  his  load  at  the  door  of  my  cabin— it  was  a  deer, 
and  I  would  hasten  to  prepare  it  for  the  repast. 

My  heart  was  attached  to  my  spouse,  and  to  me  his  love  was  more 
than  all  the  world ; 

But  he  has  forsaken  me  for  another  and  now  life  has  become  a  bur- 
den to  me  which  I  can  no  longer  support; 

Mv  child  is  also  a  grief  to  my  heart,  for  he  is  so  like  him. 

How  can  I  endure  life  when  all  its  moments  are  so  cruel  and  so  poign- 
ant to  me ! 

I  have  elevated  my  voice  towards  the  Master  of  Life;  I  have  besought 
Him  to  take  back  the  life  He  had  given  me, for  I  wish  for  it  no  longer. 

I  am  going  on  with  the  current  that  carries  me  off,  and  that  will  sat- 
isfy my  desire  and  my  prayers 

I  see  the  waters  foaming.  I  see  it  gush  forth  impetuously,  it  shall  be 
my  Hhroud. 

I  hear  the  deep  murmurs  of  the  gulf,— it  is  my  funeral  song,  Farewell! 
Farewell!" 

—  17  — 


The"  Sacs  and  Foxes,  as  Well  as  Several  other  tribes,  believe  that  at  the 
time  of  the  deluge,  a  man  and  woman  remained  on  the  summit  of  a  high 
mountain,  after  all  the  rest  of  the  human  race  were  drowned.  When 
the  waters  subsided  the  Great  Spirit  took  pity  on  these  two  beings,  and 
sent  them  fire  by  the  raven  whose  plumage  was  then  white;  the  raven, 
having  stopped  to  feed  on  the  carcass  of  a  buffalo,  let  the  flre  die  out, 
and  returned  to  heaven  to  fetch  more.  Then  the  Great  Spirit  as  a  pun- 
ishment, changed  the  color  of  its  feathers  from  white  to  black  and  gave 
the  flre  to  another  bird,  which  carried  it  faithfully  to  its  destination 
without  stopping.  Different  tribes  have  varieties  of  the  same  traditions 
more  or  less  embellished,  and  which  it  is  useless  to  introduce  here. 

A?t  every  step  in  the  study  of  the  religion  of  the  Indians,  one  perceives 
that  if  not  of  Hebrew  origin  it  is,  at  least,  strongly  imbued  with 
Biblical  tradition,  more  or  less  perverted  by  the  fantastic  and  vivid 
imagination  of  these  simple  beings  with  their  passionate  love  for  all  that 
is  marvelous. 

Some  authors  equally  distinguished  for  their  erudition  and  their 
practical  knowledge  of  the  Indians,  have  looked  upon  the  legend  we  are 
about  to  relate,  as  a  distorted  reminiscence  of  the  redemption  which  was 
sealed  upon  Calvary. 

Ascending  the  Mississippi,  a  little  above  St.  Louis,  between  Alton 
and  the  Illinois  river,  there,  is  a  narrow  pas-*  confined  between  two  high 
hills,  at  the  bottom  of  which  runs  the  Piusa,  a  rivulet  which  flows 
into  the  river.  At  this  place  is  a  smooth,  perpendicular  rock,  upon 
which  at  two  or  three  yards  hight  an  immense  image  of  a  bird  with  out- 
spread wingS  is  chiseled  on  the  stone.  This  image,  from  which  the 
streamlet  takes  its  name,  is  called  by  the  Indians,  Piusa,  that  is  to  say, 
the  man-devouring  bird,  and  is  thus  named  from  the  circumstance  that 
follows. 

"  Many  thousand  moons  befor  the  arival  of  the  white  men,  Nanabush, 
the  benevolent  intercessor  for  mankind,  destroyed  the  great  Mammouth 
or  Mastodon,  the  bones  of  which  are  still  to  be  found  in  many  parts  of 
America.  At  that  time  there  was  a  bird  of  such  prodigious  strength 

~  18  — 


and  size,  that  he  could  easily  carry  away  a  stag  in  his  taloris.  This  bird 
having  once  tasted  of  human  flesh,  from  that  time  forward,  would  eat  no 
other  food.  He  was  as  cunning  as  he  was  strong;  he  used  to  make  a 
sudden  dart  at  an  Indian,  carry  him  away  to  one  of  his  caves  in  the  rock, 
and  there  devour  him  at  leisure.  Hundreds  of  warriors  had  been 
unsuccessful  in  their  attempts  to  destroy  him.  Entire  villages  were  thus 
laid  to  waste  by  him,  and  terror  was  spread  among  the  tribes  of  Illinois. 
At  length  Outaga,  a  warrior  chief,  whose  renown  extended  far  beyond 
the  great  lakes,  withdrew  from  the  rest  of  his  tribe,  spent  a  whole  month 
in  fasting  and  solitude,  and  prayed  to  the  Great  Spirit  to  deliver  his 
children  from  the  fangs  of  Piusa.  During  the  last  night,  the  Great 
Spirit  appeared  to  him  in  a  dream,  and  commanded  him  to  select  twenty 
warriors,  and  to  hide  them  in  a  place  which  he  pointed  out  to  him,  each 
man  being  armed  with  a  bow  and  a  poisoned  arrow.  One  warrior  alone 
was  to  show  himself  openly,  and  become  a  victim  to  the  winged  monster, 
at  whom  all  the  others  were  to  let  fly  their  arrows,  the  moment  the  bird 
fastened  on  its  prey. 

"When  Outaga  awoke,  he  gave  thanks  to  the  Great  Spirit;  he  then 
went  back  to  his  tribe,  related  his  dream,  and  the  twenty  warriors  were 
forthwith  chosen,  armed,  and  placed  in  ambush,  Outaga  himself  offering 
to  become  the  victim  and  so  perish  for  the  rest  of  his  tribe.  From  the 
rising  ground  where  he  stood,  the  brave  Indian  beheld  the  Piusa  perched 
on  his  rock.  He  drew  himself  up  with  majestic  bearing,  planting  his 
feet  firmly  on  the  soil;  and  laying  his  right  hahd  upon  his  calm  and 
unmoved  heart,  he  lifted  up  his  voice  and  began  the  death  chant  of  the 
warrior.  The  monster  spread  out  his  wings,  and  quick  as  lightning  fell 
upon  the  Indian  chief.  But  every  bow  was  ready  strained,  every  warrior 
let  his  arrow  fly,  and  each  arrow  pierced  through  the  body  of  the  Piusa, 
who  sank  and  expired  at  the  feet  of  Outaga  with  a  savage  and  terrific 
shriek.  The  Great  Spirit  rewarded  the  sacrifice  of  the  generous  chief  by 
suspending  over  his  head  an  invisible  shield  which  preserved  him  from 
being  hurt  by  his  friends'  arrows,  or  by  the  talons  of  the  bird." 

In  remembrance  of  this  event  the  image  of  the  Piusa  was  carved  on 
the  rock,  and  no  Indian  ever  goes  past  this  place  in  his  canoe  without 
aiming  a  shot  at  the  monster's  effigy.  The  rifles  have  left  innumerable 
marks  on  the  stone,  and  the  whole  fable  seems  to  borrow  an  air  of  truth 
from  the  fact  that  all  the  natural  caverns  in  the  surrounding  hills  are 
filled  with  bones  of  thousands  of  human  beings. 

The   celebrated    Methodist  preacher,   Peter  Cartright,   D.   D.,   who 

—  19  — 


labored  for  more  than  sixty  years  chiefly  in  the  Mississippi  Valley,  leaves 
this  in  his  autobiography  published  in  1856,  in  describing  his  first  visit  to 
Rock  Island  Mission,  which  corroborates  the  truth  of  the  above. 

"Here  on  the  north  side  of  Rock  River,  on  the  rising  ground  from  the 
Mississippi  bottom,  stands  the  sight  of  one  of  the  oldest  Indian  towns  in 
the  north  or  north-west.  It  is  a  beautiful  site  for  a  city.  There  are  to 
be  seen  lying,  bleached  and  bleaching,  the  bones  of  unnumbered  thousands 
of  this  poor,  wild  and  roaming  race  of  human  beings.  It  was  the 
center  of  the  vast  and  powerful,  unbroken,  warlike  tribes  of  the 
north-west.  This  particular  spot  was  claimed  by  the  notorious  Black- 
Hawk  and  his  tribe.  If  they  had  been  civilized,  and  had  known  the  real 
arts  of  war,  it  would  have  been  utterly  impossible  for  the  Americans  to 
have  vanquished  and  subdued  them  as  they  have  done.  When  I  looked 
at  the  fields  in  cultivation  by  the  whites,  where  the  ground  had  been  for 
ages  the  country  of  the  Indians,  a  spirit  of  sorrow  came  over  me.  Had 
they  been  an  educated  and  civilized  people  there  no  doubt  would  now  be 
standing  on  this  pre-eminent  site,  as  splendid  a  city  as  New  York.  But 
the^  are  wasted  away  and  gone  to  their  long  home.  I  saw  a  scattered 
few  that  there  crowded  back  by  the  unconquerable  march  of  the  white 
man." 

A  tradition  prevails  among  the  Sacs  and  Foxes  in  which  we  can  trace 
a  great  analogy  to  the  Mosaic  account  of  the  creation  of  man  and  the 
confusion  of  tongues.  According  to  those  Indians  the  Great  Spirit 
created,  in  the  first  place,  two  men;  but  on  seeing  that  His  work  was 
thus  insufficient  for  its  purpose,  He  took  from  each  man  a  rib,  of  which 
He  formed  two  women.  The  Indian  race  are  descended  from  these  two 
couples.  All  men  were  at  first  united  in  one  great  nation:  but  they 
became  wicked,  and  after  that  the  Great  Spirit  visited  them  and  gave 
them  the  knowledge  of  several  tongues,  thereby  creating  among  them 
confusion,  which  compelled  them  to  separate  and  to  form  all  the  differ, 
ent  tribes  which  are  yet  in  existence. 

Before  bidding  adieu  to  the  first  inhabitants  of  these  prairies,  let  us 
cast  a  kindly  glance  at  the  departed,  and,  as  it  were,  leave  a  wreath  of 
prairie  flowers  over  the  remains  of  that  diminishing  race  whose  once 
loved  acres  we  now  inhabit.  No  longer  can  the  green  mounds,  their 
sacred  tombs,  receive  the  pathetic  care  of  friend  or  descendant.  The 
proud  race  of  the  children  of  Nature  has  drunk  of  the  bitter  cup  of 
humiliation  and  desolation.  Let  us  cherish  compassion  for  their  mis- 
fortune, and  in  the  twilight  of  their  setting  sun  linger  in  tender  reveries  v 
before  we  say  farewell. 

—  20  — 


THOMAS  J.  DEXTER 


Jofii2  eo23  MargjsvrelL  Dexter. 

THE  FIRST  WHITE  INHABITANTS  OF  AMBOY. 


FAR  out  in  the  Atlantic  ocean,  there  is,  or  was,  an  enormous,  sub- 
merged forest  called  "gulf  weed,"  from  its  connection  with  the 
great  "Gulf  Stream"  from  the  Gulf  of  Mexico.  This  is  so  dense  as  some- 
times to  impede  the  progress  of  ships,  and  when  encountered  by  Colum- 
bus on  his  exploring  voyage  westward,  it  was  thought  by  the  superstitious 
sailors  to  be  a  barrier  placed  there  by  an  angry  Providence  to  prevent 
their  passage;  or  at  all  events,  to  warn  them  against  further  progress. 
But  Columbus  was  a  man  with  a  purpose  too  grand  to  be  overawed  by 
the  ocean  forest  and  a  thousand  other  ills,  and  his  fearless  perseverence 
reaped  a  rich  reward. 

How  many  a  Columbus  we  have  met  and  have  not  known  it.  How 
many  grand  spirits  have  crossed  our  pathway  and,  perchance,  walked  and 
talked  with  us  day  by  day,  whose  earthly  environments  have  blinded  us 
to  the  regal  honors  we  were  receiving  in  sharing  their  company.  They 
may  have  been  rough  in  speech,  unlettered  and  awkward,  and  coarsely 
clad,  and  yet  all  these  external  appearances  were  but  as  the  husks  which 
had  hidden  and  protected  the  finest,  noblest  souls  that  shall  be  unveiled 
in  Paradise. 

n  And  through  marsh  and  fen  and  bog  and  slough  and  dangers  seen  and 
unseen,  in  the  years  gone  by  these  Columbians,  both  men  and  women 
have  pressed  on,  hoping  and  believing  that  somewhere  in  the  Great  West, 
sweet  Mother  Nature  with  smiling  face  and  green  and  sunny  garments, 
was  waiting  to  receive  them  to  an  earthly  home  which,  to  the  wanderer's 
vision,  appeared  a  type  of  "Canaan's  Happy  Land,"  beyond  the  swelling 
flood  of  Jordan. 

On  a  day  in  the  latter  part  of  May,  1835,  when  not  a  human  habita- 
tion, save  the  ruins  of  some  Indian  lodge,  marked  the  landscape,  two 
heavily  laden  wagons,  each  drawn  by  two  horses,  and  containing  house- 
hold goods,  a  tent,  two  men,  two  women  and  four  children,  moved  slowly 
onward  until  they  reached  some  rising  ground,  sheltered  by  trees  near 

—  25  — 


the  banks  of  Green  river,  just  east  of  the  present  locality  of  Binghampton. 
Here  they  alighted  and  pitched  a  small  tent,:,the  two  men  preparing  for 
an  encampment,  while  the  women  were  busy  in  making  ready  the  even- 
ing meal.  The  elder  woman  tended  and  watched  the  twin  babies,  two 
little  boys;  the  younger  woman  performed  the  more  active  service.  The 
older  man  was  smaller  than  the  younger  and  wore  spectacles.  The 
younger  was  a  gieat,  strong,  stalwart  man',  ruddy  and  grey  eyed,  his  step 
fearless,  the  work  of  his  hands  as  if  a  determined  will  reached  through 
every  fiber  to  finger  tips.  The  elder  woman  was  thin  and  quiet,  with  a 
look  in  her  face  as  if  motherhood  was  in  her  heart  but  perchance  not  in 
her  life,  while  she  lavished  on  the  little  ones  the  tenderness  of  a  real 
mother.  The  young  mother  was  a  "perfect  woman  nobly  planned,"  of  full 
habit,  finely  proportioned,  with  large  blue  eyes  and  beautiful  complexion. 
The  little  Thomas,  five  years  old,  and  Mary,  three,  with  the  twins, 
Matthew  and  Mark,  complete  the  group  of  the  first  white  inhabitants  of 
Amboy — the  Dexter  family. 

The  older  man  was  he  whom  we  have  heard  spoken  of  as  "Old  Doctor 
Dexter,"  and  was  an  uncle  of  John  Dexter.  He  married  a  maiden  lady 
just  before  emigrating  west,  and  they  soon  located  in  a  little  cabin  be- 
tween Lee  Center  and  Inlet  Grove. 

John  Dexter  was  born  October  8th,  1803,  of  hardy  Welsh  parentage, 
whose  ancestors  emigrated  to  America  in  the  early  part  of  the  17th  cen-  ' 
tury  and  settled  in  Connecticut;  their  descendents  emigrating  to  Maine, 
New  York,  Canada,  Michigan,  Illinois,  and  later  on,  to  Iowa,  Kansas, 
California,  and  the  Sandwich  Islands. 

Mrs.  Dexter's  maiden  name  was  Margaret  Mclnarrie  Dudgeon,  of 
Scotch-Irish  Presbyterian  ancestry,  that  came  to  America  the  latter 
part  of  the  17th  century  and  settled  in  the  state  of  New  York,  their 
desceiidents  moving  into  Canada  and  the  western  reserve;  and  from 
Canada  came  John  and  Margaret  Dexter  with  their  four  children. 

They  first  reared  a  cabin  twelve  feet  square  with  a  shed  roof,  and  in 
this  they  lived  for  some  time  before  building  the  addition  as  represented 
in  the  engraving. 

The  country  around  seemed  inexpressibly  beautiful  to  our  new  inhabi- 
tants, and  Mr.  D.  named  the  place  Palestine,  because  it  seemed  to  him 
the  Promised  Land.  If  not  "flowing  with  milk  and  honey"  it  yielded 
wild  honfly  and  fruit,  and  every  kind  of  game  in  abundance. 

Here  was  the  grove  with  its  singing  birds  and  the  music  of  the  running 
river,  far  broader  arid  more  beautiful  then  than  now,  since  the  swamp 
lands  from  which  it  takes  its  rise  have  been  drained.  The  voices  of 

—  26  — 


children  and  all  the  sweet  sounds  of  nature  broke  upon  the  sublime 
and  majestic  silence  of  the  vast  expanse  around  them;  and  on  a  clear 
morning,  sometimes  the  whole  country  from  Palestine  Grove  west,  and 
from  Dixon  to  Sterling  on  Rock  River,  was  mirrored  on  the  sky  in  the 
wonderful  mirage. 

About  six  miles  from  Mr.  Dexter's  cabin  lived  Adolphus  Bliss,  who 
had  settled  there  the  year  before.  This  was  considered  a  near  neighbor. 
Mr.  Dexter  planted  a  garden  and  some  sod  corn,  and  with  cows  and 
chickens,  which  he  had  obtained,  they  made  out  to  live  and  wait  for  the 
future.  But  a  cold  winter  was  at  hand,  and  notwithstanding  the  joy  of 
the  summer  days,  the  hardships  of  pioneer  life  were  at  the  threshold. 
The  hungry  wolves  prowled  about  the  dooryard,  and  Mrs.  Dexter  had 
often  to  drive  them  away  and  watch  to  keep  her  children  safe  from  them 
as  well  as  from  rattlesnakes;  and  later  on,  from  fever  and  ague  and  the 
diseases  of  a  new  country.  The  only  roads  then  were  the  Indian  trails. 
The  nearest  grist  mill  was  tlfty  miles  away,  and  when  out  of  flour  they 
ground  wheat  in  the  coffee  mill,  and  instead  of  bread,  often  ate  hulled 
corn.  The  long  winter  wore  away,  and  in  the  spring  James  Doan  and 
wife  arrived  and  settled  near;  in  the  autumn  Mr.  John  Doan  and  family 
came,  and  three  miles  east  the  Ingals  family  settled.  Andrew  Bainter 
came  in  the  spring  of  1837.  Asa  B.  Searles  and  Benjamin  Wasson  in  the 
fall,  and  the  Blairs  and  others  soon  followed. 

From  different  sources  we  have  glimpses  of  the  home  life  at  Mr.  Dex- 
ter's. We  hear  of  Mrs.  Dexter  lending  books,  among  them  the  "History 
of  the  Reformation,"  and  an  ancient  bible,  its  leaves  yellow  with  age,  yet 
in  good  preservation  as  if  evidently  cared  for,  is  in  possession  of  the 
family.  On  a  blank  page  is  the  following  in  Mr.  Dexter's  writing: 

The  Bible  is  the  best  of  books 

With  which  this  world  is  blest. 
Take  that  away  and  do  but  look 

What  nonsense  is  the  rest. 

Therefore  that  Book,  the  Bible  true, 

My  heart  shall  ever  prize. 
And  when  despise  its  truths  I  do. 

May  darkness  close  my  eyes. 

John  Dexter  is  my  name. 

Great  Britain  is  my  nation, 
Vaughan  is  my  dwelling  place, 

In  Christ  1  hope  for  salvation.— March  17. 1833. 

Mr.  Thomas  Dexter,  now  living  in  Woodland,  California,  writes:  "Of 
my  mother,  I  remember  her  struggles  to  care  for  her  little  brood. 
There  were  angels,  as  Emerson  says,  hovering  around;— Toil  and  Want 
and  Hope  and  Mutual  Faith;— and  other  angels— Gracious  Mother  Wasson 


and  Doan  and  Frost  and  Bainter  and  Badger  and  Bridgeman.  The  UD 
certain  eye  of  youth  made  me  see  them  as  unapproachable.  In  1837  an 
old  Congregational  minister  from  Maine,  Mr.  Stinson,  stopped  with  us. 
He  was  thoroughly  orthodox,  and  drilled  us  on  the  King's  'Highway. 
Don't  forget  that  he  and  Mr.  De Wolfe,  an  Episcopalian,  and  James 
Hawley,  a  happy  Methodist,  helped  to  lay  the  foundation  of  Amboy's 
Spiritual  Zion.  Mr.  DeWolfe  used  to  hold  services  about  once  a  month 
in  our  old  log  house,  and  Father  Corbett  alternated,;" 

Mrs.  Dexter  let  no  opportunity  be  lost  for  her  children's  benefit.  As 
the  years  went  by  and  the  new  settlers  moved  in  and  a  school-house  was 
built,  at  every  meeting  and  on  every  school  day  they  were  sent,  dressed 
with  perfect  neatness,  their  bright  faces  and  shining  hair  reflecting  the 
mother's  love.  A  lady  who  used  to  see  them  at  church,  says:  "  I  never 
saw  sweeter  looking  children.  I  knew  very  little  of  their  mother,  but  I 
can  recall  her  lovely  complexion  and  large  blue  eyes."  Mrs  James  Doan, 
still  living,  says:  "You  cannot  say  too  much  in  praise  of  Mrs.  Dexter. 
She  was  exquisitely  neat  and  an  excellent  cook,  a  most  devoted  wife  and 
a  very  affectionate  mother.  As  intimate  as  I  was  with  her,  I  never  heard 
her  complain  throughout  the  years  of  her  hardships.  Every  one  loved 
her."  She  was  always  busy.  In  her  husband's  absence  she  had  the  whole 
care  of  ten  cows.  She  sold  butter  and  eggs  at  Dixon,  the  nearest  market, 
arid  paid  for  a  cooking  stove  with  butter  at  five  or  six  cents  a  pound  giv- 
ing $66.00  for  it.  The  stove  was  oblong,  about  three  feet  by  eighteen  inches, 
with  an  upper  story  about  half  way  the  length  of  the  stove  for  an  oven, 
and  three  griddles  on  top.  Rut  after  all  her  sacrifices  to  obtai'n  it,  she 
soon  discarded  it  and  went  back  to  the  old  fireplace.  She  made  crab- 
apple  dumplings  for  a  treat  for  the  children  and  stewed  green  grapes  for 
a  feast  with  their  bread;  and  let  the  neighbor's  boys  come  to  play  in  the 
house,  never  frowning  at  the  noise  they  made. 

After  the  Dexter's  had  settled  here  the  Indians  encamped  near  them 
and  raised  corn  on  land  where  Mr.  Badger  now  lives.  The  young  Indians 
were  playmates  with  the  white  children  and  there  was  no  little  spirit  of 
emulation  between  them  in  the  skillful  use  of  the  bow  and  arrow.  Mr. 
Thomas  J.  Dexter  writes:  "On  our  old  farm  wandering  bands  of  Potto- 
wattomies,  Sacs,  (or  Sauks),  Foxes  and  Shawnee  Indians  would  pitch  their 
tents,  and  never  offer  violence  to  any  one  unless  first  aggravated.  Shab- 
bona  was  a  grand  Indian  who  loved  peace,  and  undertook  to  save  white 
families  from  the  rage  of  other  warriors  who  had  determined  to  slaughter 
all  in  northern  Illinois.  Many  times  I  have  gone  with  him  when  a  boy 
to  Chicago.  As  to  trips  to  Chicago,  I  recollect,  as  yesterday,  taking  a 
faithful  old  team  that  knew  if  they  followed  Lewis  Clapp,  or  "Uncle" 

—  28  — 


MARY  J.  DEXTER. 

(MltS.  TOUBTILLOTTE.", 


Ben  Wasson,  Andy  Bainter,  Uriel  Bridgman,  Simon  or  Chester  Badger 
or  AsaSearles  they  would  get  to  Chicago  all  right,  and  sell  wheat,  threshed 
with  a  flail  for  30  or  40  cents  a  bushel.  It  is  hardly  probable  your  average 
Lee  County  boy  of  today,  from  11  to  15  years  of  age,  would  care  for  that 
sort  of  a  job.  It  was  a  good  school,  nevertheless.  Mrs.  John  Doan, 
mother  of  James  Doan  and  Mrs.  Andy  Bainter,  was  good  as  gold  reflned. 
She  was  earnest  in  all  that  makes  men  better.  Mrs.  Bridgeman,  Mrs. 
Wasson,  Mrs.  Badger,  Mrs.  Patience  Searles,  and  on  Memory's  walls  I  find 
high  toward  heaven  'Aunt'  Mary,  a  good  Catholic  and  Christian,  wife  of 
Elisha  Dexter,  and  Mrs.  James  Hawley,  and  Mrs.  Farwell  and  Mrs.  Davis. 
Are  their  names  not  writ-ten  in  the  Book  of  Life?" 

The  night  cometh  as  well  as  the  day.  and  Mrs.  Dexter  had  need  of  the 
ministry  and  sympathy  of  these  good  neighbors.  Sickness  often  came  to 
her  and  twice  death  had  entered  her  home  and  left  the  cradle  empty. 

"The  last  sad  act  is  drawing  on. 

A  little  while  by  the  golden  gate 
Of  the  holy  heaven  to  which  you  are  gone, 

Wait,  my  darlings,  wait." 

Through  the  long  vista  of  years  and  with  the  aid  of  others'  eyes,  we 
glance  again  into  the  home  of  the  Dexter's.  The  mother  is  pale  and  her 
light  step  gone  and  her  face  carries  a  look  of  sadness.  So  much  to  do  and 
her  strength  waning;  yet  she  quilts  and  knits  and  sews,  and  is  always 
busy.  Mr.  Dexter,  with  Mr.  Warren  Badger  and  Mr.  Palmer,  has  built  a 
flouring  mill.  The  little  Thomas,  five  years  oid  when  we  flrst  knew  him, 
is  a  lad  of  fourteen  now;  Mary,  who  was  three,  is  a  Miss  of  twelve;  the 
twins,  Matthew  and  Mark,  are  in  their  eleventh  year,  andSimon,  the  flrst 
white  child  born  in  Amboy,  is  nine  years  old;  Martha  is  seven  and  the 
little  Harriet  is  but  two.  Between  her  and  Martha,  two  little  ones,  Jesse 
and  Harriet  Elizabeth  have  folded  their  wings  here  for  a  while  and  then 
gone  to  the  skies.  The  cabin  has  been  enlarged,  but  still  in  the  largest 
room,  where  the  family  lives,  there  is  a  bed  in  one  corner,  and  the  old 
fire-place,  with  its  chimney  outside  to  give  more  room,  sends  out  its 
cheerful  home  light  on  this  wintry  March  evening. 

The  flickering  flre  throws  the  shadows  o'er 
The  cabin's  well  swept  puncheon  floor; 
The  tea-kettle  sings  on  the  swinging  crane, 

And  a  bannock  browns  in  the  ruddy  flame, 

i 

The  children,  weary  of  work  and  play 
At  home  or  at  school  all  the  live  long  day, 
Sleep  sweetly,  nor  dream  of  coming  care, 
While  the  gentle  mother  watches  there. 

—  31  — 


And  tirelessly  ever  the  wintry  gale 

Through  the  burr-oak  trees  sings  its  lonely  tale; 

Its  tale  of  the  home  of  long  ago, 

So  far  away,  yet  remembered  so! 

A  light  is  set  in  the  window  for  him 

Who  is  coming  home  in  the  starlight  dim; 

By  the  cheerful  hearth  stands  his  vacant  chair, 

And  the  fragrant  supper  is  waiting  there. 

Above  the  rude  couch  where  the  children  rest, 
She  .bendeth  low  like  a  heavenly  guest; 
She  stops  by  the  youngest  in  loving  guise, 
And  shades  the  light  from  the  tender  eyes 

Then  rocks  the  cradle  with  gentle  swings, 
And  softly  the  notes  of  a  lullaby  sings; 
Her  needles  flash  bright  in  the  fire-light's  blaze, 
As  she  knits  and  dreams  of  the  coming  days. 

And  she  knits  and  rocks  and  dreams  again, 
And  the  lullaby  sings  with  its  sweet  refrain, 
While  the  stockings  grow  for  the  little  feet, 
And  the  weary  mother  fain  would  sleep. 

Fold  up  the  work  and  lay  it  by ; 

The  moon  is  bright  in  the  bending  sky. 

The  one  thou  hast  watched  for  is  at  the  door, 

And  thy  loving  vigil,  at  length  is  o'er. 

Best,  rest  weary  mother,  nor  care  for  life's  pains, 

As  heaven  grows  nearer  and  earth  life  wanes; 

Just  as  thou  art  watching  their  needs  to  see, 

So  the  white  winged  angels  are  guarding  thee! 

Heaven's  light  they  are  shading  from  thy  dear  eyes, 

Not  ready  yet  for  the  glad  surprise; 

He  who  had  not  where  for  His  beautiful  head 

Is  breaking  for  thee  thy  daily  bread. 

"The  spirit  is  willing,  the  flesh  is  weak," 
Thou  hearest  not  what  the  angels  speak;— 
"As  is  thy  day  so  thy  strengh  shall  be," 
"The  arms  everlasting  are  underneath  thee." 

Plume,  plume  thy  wings  for  the  sparkling  air; 
They  are  making  ready  thy  dwelling  there! 
If  thou  leavest  thy  darlings  a  little  space. 
More  surely  shall  they  behold  His  face!       * 

A  few  weeks  have  passed  away  and  April's  smiles  and  tears  have  come 
and  gone.  Another  little  girl,  but  eight  days  old  has  joined  the  other 
children  under  the  sunny  espaliers  of  heaven.  There  is  pain  and  sorrow 

—  32  — 


SIMON    B.   DEXTER. 


and  a  nameless  dread  around  the  place  where  the  dying  mother  lies. 
Over  the  prairies,  the  white  faced,  black  horses  of  Dr.  Adams  are  speed- 
ing to  the  stricken  home,  and  from  Dixon  Dr.  Nash  is  hurrying  to  meet 
him.  Mr.  Thomas  Dexter  writes:  "I  remember  our  faith  that  they  could 
cure  her,  and  our  poor,  helpless  prayers.  I  remember  the  mournful  cortege 
of  friends  who  bore  her  body  to  that  sand  hill  burial  place;  Rev.  Luke 
Hitchcock's  prayers  and  the  presence  of  Father  Birdsall,  the  Wassons 
and  Badgers  and  Doans  and  Hawleys  and  Frosts  and  others — all  are 
photographed  on  my  memory. 

Forty-eight  years  have  passed  away  since  these  scenes  were  enacted. 
Mr.  Dexter  died  May  22,  1888,  in  the  Soldiers'  Honce  at  Quincy,  111.  His 
last  wife,  Mrs.  Leapha  M.  Palmer,  who  was  the  widow  of  his  partner 
killed  in  the  mill,  died  May  15, 1863,  and  Mr.  Dexter,  although  sixty  years 
of  age,  enlisted  in  the  46th  111.  Infantry.  He  had  been  in  the  army  while 
in  Canada.  He  had  a  martial  spirit  and,  like  the  brave  Massena,  he 
loved  the  terrible  music  that  rolled  and  reverberated  over  the  battle  field; 
withal  he  was  a  stern  lover  of  justice,  and  he  believed  he  was  enlisted  in 
a  holy  cause.  Had  he  lived  in  the  time  of  the  Crusade  he  would  surely 
have  followed  Richard  Coaur-de-Lion  to  Palestine. 

Thomas  J.  Dexter  married  Miss  Eliza  Hills,  a  sister  of  Dr.  Harmon 
Wasson's  wife,  and  ex-Sheriff  Hills,  of  Dixon,  in  1852,  and  had  four  daugh- 
ters. The  eldest  was  named  by  her  aunt,  Mrs.  Wasson,  Nina  Lee,  for 
one  of  Columbus'  ships  and  for  Lee  county.  Who  has  a  prettier  passport 
to  a  place  in  our  Lee  County  Columbian  book?  Her  home  is  in  Honolulu. 
Mr.  D.,  her  father,  lives  in  Woodland  California. 

Mary  Jane  married  John  Tourtillott,  of  Sublette,  Oct.  5,  1856,  and  died 
Oct.,  1878.  Two  of  her  four  children  are  living — Thomas  and  Ella  Mary. 
Matthew  died  some  years  ago.  Mark  is  living  at  Clear  Lake,  Iowa. 
Simon  is  at  Rice  Lake,  Minn.  He  served  through  the  war  in  the  34th 
Illinois  Infantry  with  honor. 

Martha  Ann  married  Lyman  B.  Ruggles  and  removed  to  California. 
She,  too,  has  passed  away.  Harriet  married  Mr.  Fessenden  and  lives 
near  Mason  City,  Iowa. 

FAMILY  RECORD. 

Copied  from  the  old  family  bible,  as  recorded  by  Mr.  Dexter. 
John  Dexter,  son  of  Elisha  Dexter,  was  born  in  the  state  of  Connecti- 
cut on  the  13th  day  of  February,  1773.    Died,  Oct.  30,  1815. 
Jane  Dexter  was  born  Feb.  11,  1772.    Died,  July  14,  1839. 
John  Dexter  and  Jane  Niece  were  married  at  Genesee,  N.  Y.,  1796. 

-35- 


CHILDREN. 

Amos  Dexter  was  born  February  3, 1797. 

Elizabeth  Dexter  was  born  October  31,  1798.    Died,  September  1816. 

Hiram  Dexter  was  born  April  24,  1801. 

JOHN  DEXTER  was  born  October  8,  1803.    Died,  May  22,  1888. 

Mary  Dexter  was  born  July  27, 1805.     Died,  December,  1849. 

Elisha  Dexter  was  born  June  8,  1807.    Died,  April,  1859. 

Asahel  Dexter  was  born  March  14, 1809. 

Ahijah  Dexter  was  born  February  6,  1811. 

John  Dexter  and  Margaret  Dudgeon  were  married  September  24,  1829, 
at  Youngstown,  N.  Y.,  by  Mr.  Hinman,  both  being  residents  of  Vaughan 
Upper  Canada.  Margaret  (Dudgeon)  Dexter  was  born  Sept.  5,  1812,  in 
Masonville  county,  N.  Y.,  and  died  at  7  o'clock  a.  m.,  May  21,  1845,  at 
Amboy,  Lee  Co.,  Illinois;  then  called  Palestine  Grove. 

CHILDREN  OF  JOHN  AND  MARGARET  DEXTER. 

Thomas  J.,  born  October  22,  1830. 

Mary  Jane,  born  November  8,  1832.     Died  October,  1878. 

Mathew  Ralph  and  Harvey  Mark,  born  July  27, 1834. 

Simon,  born  July  22,  1836. 

Martha  Ann,  born  May  13,  1838.    Died  Augusts,  1887. 

Jesse,  born  March  18.  1840.     Died,  March  21,  1840. 

Harriet  Elizabeth,  born  May  2,  1841.    Died,  March  17,  1843. 

Harriet  Elizabeth,  born  April  7,  1743. 

A  daughter,  born   April  22, 1845,     Died,  April  30,  1845. 

Thomas,  Mary,  Mathew  and  Mark  were  born  in  Vaughan,  Home  Dis- 
trict, York  County,  Upper  Canada.  Simon,  Martha  Atm,  Jesse,  Harriet 
Elizabeth  and  Harriet  Elizabeth  2d,  and  a  daughter,  (eight  days  old) 
born  in  Palestine  Grove,  Inlet  Precinct,  Ogle  County,  111.,  now  Arnby,  Lee 
County,  Illinois. 


e   Doat2   Faroitv. 


ANOTHER  family  was  soon  to  be  added  to  the  settlement,  and  In 
the  spring  of  1836  James  Doan  and  his  young  wife  took  up  their 
abode  here.     She  is  still  living  to  relate  her  recollections. 
Susan,   Daughter  of  Frederick  and  Margaret  Bainter,  was/ born   in 
Montgomery  county,  Ohio,  May  17.  1819,  where  she  lived  until  eleven 
years  of  age,  when  she  removed  wifch  her  parents  to  South  Bend,  Indiana. 
She  remained  here  four  years  and  then  removed  to  Berrian  county  Mich. 
Here,  on  March  27,  1836,  she  was  married  to  James  Doan,  arid  on  the  24th 
of  the  next  month  they  started  for  Palestine  Grove,   in  company  with 
Mr.  D.'s  father,  brother,  and  sister,  where  after  a  fatiguing  journey  of 
twenty-one  days,  they  arrived  May  13,  1836.    They  found  the  country  beau- 
tiful and  felt  compensated  for  their  great  struggle  for  a  home  in  what  then 
seemed  the  "  far  west."    There  were  a  great  many  Indians  here,  but  this 
did  not  trouble  her  as  she  had  been  accustomed  to  seeing  many  of  them 
from  childhood  and  could  speak  their  language  quite  well. 

Soon  after  their  arrival  they  com ruenced  making  a  temporary  shelter 
to  protect  them  from  the  rain  and  sun,  living  in  the  wagon  in  which 
they  had  journeyed  until  it  was  done.  The  mosquitoes  were  a  terrible 
annoyance,  a  large  brush  fire  being  the  only  protection  from  them. 

They  began  immediately  to  break  prairie  and  to  plant  crops  for  the 
coming  summer  and  winter.  This  being  done,  James'  father,  John  Doan, 
with  son  Gibson  and  daughter  Jemima,  returned  to  Michigan  for  the 
remainder  of  the  family,  leaving  James  and  Susan  in  care  of  the  crops, 
etc.  The  few  months  following  are  strongly  impressed  on  her  mind  as 
being  some  of  the  most  lonely  and  desolate  of  those  early  times.  After 
the  routine  of  household  duties  was  over  for  the  morning  and  noon  she 
would  go  where  James  was  at  work  and  spend  the  time  as  best  she  could 
until  he  could  go  back  to  the  house  with  her.  At  that  time  she  was  but 
seventeen  years  old.  Tears  were  plentiful  and  cheap  with  her  in  those 
days,  yet  she  felt  it  was  best  for  them  to  remain  and  she  would  not  ask 
to  return  to  the  old  home. 

At  last  a  day  of  rejoicing  came.  On  the  19th  day  of  September  they 
saw  in  the  distance  the  returning  family,  John  and  Charlotte  Doan  with 
their  sons  and  daughters. 

—  37  — 


Young  hands  in  a  new  country  cannot  be'idle,  and  James  set  to  work 
to  build  a  better  house.  The  site  he  selected  was  on  the  bank  of  a  small 
creek  that  they  called  Willow  Branch,  a  lovely,  picturesque  place.  The 
house  must  be  made  of  logs,  the  one  thing  plentiful.  He  hewed  them  on 
both  sides,  and  then  made  a  raising  to  place  them  one  above  another. 
The  men  who  helped  him  do  this  were  Darius,  Cyrrino  and  Cyrenus  Saw- 
yer, Mr.  West,  Mr.  Stearns,  Mr.  Reynolds  from  Inlet  Grove,  John  Dexter 
and  C.  F.  Ingals*  The  dinner  that  Susan  prepared  on  this  occasion  was 
pronouuced  delicious  by  the  hungry  house-raisers.  It  consisted  of  mashed 
potatoes,  wild  squirrels,  pumpkin  pie,  coffee,  wild  honey  and  bread  and 
butter.  This  was  the  second  house  built  and  occupied  in  this  section. 
The  first  was  John  Dexter's.  A  small  shanty  had  been  made  by  Mr. 
James  Hawley,  half  a  mile  farther  south,  but  he  and  his  family  occupied 
it  but  a  few  days.  It  was  afterwards  improved  and  used  for  a  while  by 
Asa  Searles  on  his  first  arrival,  and  still  later  was  owned  and  lived  in  by 
Mr.  Bridgeman,  but  James  Doan's  was  the  second  house  that  was  occupied. 
The  Hawley  place  was  the  regular  camping  ground  of  the  Indians,  and 
used  by  them  forseveral  years  after  the  white  settlers  came,  many  Indians 
camping  there  at  different  times.  They  were  peaceable  and  quiet  and 
were  not  feared  by  any  one.  Their  little  tents  or  huts  made  of  poles  and 
bark  in  the  old  Indian  style  remained  for  several  years.  There  were  a 
number  of  graves  made  of  poles  and  dirt,  but  unlike  similar  graves  of 
the  Pottawattomies  in  Indiana,  there  was  no  dead  Indian  seated  in  one 
corner,  surrounded  by  gun  and  camping  outfit  asif  en  route  to  the  "happy 
hunting  grounds."  In  one  place,  near,  the  remains  of  a  child  were 
fastened  to  the  top  of  a  small  tree.  James  bent  the  tree  so  that  they 
could  see  the  little  bones  that  lay  in  the  rude^opeu  casket  of  Indian 
manufacture. 

Their  chief  pastime  was  wandering  through  the  grove  in  search  of 
berries  and  wild  noiiey,  there  being  plenty  of  both.  They  would  often 
walk  to  Inlet  Grove  and  to  0.  F.  lugals',  one  of  their  nearest  neigh- 
bors, who  lived  about  three  miles  east. 

The  old  Central  railroad  was  surveyed  and  partly  built  through  this 
town,  passing  nearly  through  Rocky  Ford.  In  1838  Mr.  Doau  worked  on 
it  for  a  time,  but  sickness  overtook  him  and  his  family  and  at  one  time 
he  and  the  youngest  were  so  near  to  death's  door  that  the  watchers  knew 
not  which  would  be  the  first  to  go;  but,  happily,  both  recovered. 

People  living  here  now  can  hardly  realize  the  many,  many  hardships 
the  earliest  settlers  had  to  contend  with.  In  1836  Mrs.  Doan,  in  company 
with  Mr.  and  Mrs.  John  Dexter,  made  a  visit  to  Dixon.  The  way  was 

—  38  — 


JAMES  DOAN- 


SUSAN  OOAN 


desolate,  not  one  house  in  those  long  twelve  miles,  and  they  neither  met 
nor  saw  anyone  on  the  way.  On  their  arrival  they  found  one  double  log 
cabin,  one  side  being  used  for  a  store,  and  the  other  for  a  living  room  for 
the  merchant  and  his  family.  The  store  contained  groceries  and  dry 
goods.  Of  the  latter  one  could  have  carried  nearly  all  away  in  his  arms. 
This  store  was  kept  by  a  Mr.  White,  and  John  Dixon,  jr.,  was  postmaster 
at  this  time.  The  mail  department  was  in  its  infancy,  as  well  as  the 
country. 

Their  post  office  was  at  Inlet  Grove,  and  every  letter  cost  the  one  who 
received  it  twenty-flve  cents.  A  newspaper  was  a  luxury  seldom  indulged 
in.  Mills  were  few  and  far  between,  the  nearest  being  Leeper's  mill,  forty 
miles  distant,  several  miles  below  Princeton.  It  was  a  small,  inferior 
affair.  James  was  a  jovial  fellow  and  fond  of  a  joke.  He  praised  the 
little  mill  and  told  the  miller  he  thought  he  had  a  very  good  mill,  for 
just  as  soon  as  it  got  one  kernel  ground  it  commenced  immediately  to 
grind  another.  This  is  a  sample  of  all  the  mills  in  those  days.  They 
sometimes  would  have  to  wait  a  number  of  days  for  their  turn,  and  then 
wait  for  the  grist.  When  they  had  eaten  the  lunch  they  carried  with 
them  they  would  work  for  their  board  and  for  what  the  oxen  would  eat, 
by  cutting  and  hauling  logs.  One  time  Susan  used  up  all  the  flour  and 
meal  and  ground  corn  in  the  coffee  mill  to  make  a  meal  or  two  before 
their  return.  This  was  to  her  a  small  matter  compared  with  the  anxiety 
for  the  absent  ones  so  long  gone. 

The  first  death  was  a  little  girl  of  John  Dexter's  in  1843.  John  Fos- 
dick  preached  the  funeral  sermon.  The  second  was  Frederick  and 
Delilah  Bainter's  little  boy,  Franklin,  in  August,  1844.  Rev.  Luke  Hitch- 
cock attended  the  funeral;  and  in  October  of  the  same  year  James'  father, 
John  Doan,  died.  ilev.  L.  Hitchcock  led  the  services  of  this  funeral  also. 

After  enduring  the  hardships  of  a  new  country  for  eight  years,  Susan 
with  her  husband  and  three  children,  William,  Sarah  and  Francis,  re- 
turned to  South  Bend,  Ind.,  near  the  home  of  her  girlhood.  In  the  spring 
of  1849  James  left  his  lamily  to  try  to  make  a  fortune  in  California.  He 
made  his  trip  overland  and  was  quite  successful.  When  about  to  return 
he  was  cruelly  murdered  on  the  13th  day  of  August,  1853.  No  clue  to  the 
assassin  was  ever  discovered. 

The  following  year  she  returned  to  Illinois,  having  laid  her  little 
Francis  in  the  grave,  and  her  husband  in  an  unknown  grave,  unknown 
at  least  to  her.  Here  she  has  since  resided.  In  September,  1866,  she  was 
married  to  O.  J.  Fish,  of  Franklin  Grove,  when  she  removed  to  his  home 
where  she  lived  until  his  death,  which  took  place  October  20,  1888,  since 

—  43  — 


which  time  she  has  lived,  part  of  the^time,  with  her  daughter,  Mrs. 
William  Gray,  of  Dixon,  and  the  remainder  at  her  home  in  Franklin 
Grove. 

Since  the  above  was  written  other  incidents  in  the  lives  of  this  family 
have  been  given  by  one  familiar  with  them.  They  are  of  too  much  inter- 
est to  be  omitted. 

Mr.  Doan  was  a  kind  hearted  man,  never  passing  a  little  child  without 
a  gentle  word  or  laying  his  hand  upon  it;  and  he  was  a  most  useful 
-pioneer.  He  .^invented  the  plow  which  he  manufactured^  in  company 
with  his  brother-in-law,  Mr.  Bainter,  and  which  was  the  beginning  of 
the  plow  manufactory  at  Binghamtou,  conducted  by  others  afterwards. 

Many  instances  of  his  kindness  are  recalled  by  some  now  living.  Once, 
when  two  sons  of  Chief  Shabbona  were  riding  on  horseback  in  the  vicinity, 
one  of  them  was  thrown  and  quite  severely  hurt.  Mr.  Doan  took  him 
home,  and  seconded  by  the  assistance  of  his  wife  and  the  young  Indian's 
brother,  tenderly  cared  for  him  until  he  could  be  taken  home  to  Shabbona 
Grove.  This  was  indeed  the  act  of  a  true  neighbor,  when  their  cabin 
had  but  one  room.  This  son  of  Sahbbona  was  so  badly  injured  that  he 
never  recovered,  although  he  lived  for  some  time. 

Mrs.  Doan  was  of  the  same  kind  spirit  of  her  husband.  She  was  an 
intimate  friend  of  Mrs.  Dexter,  and  spent  much  time  with  her,  when 
Mrs.  D.  by  reason  of  sickness,  or  the  care  of  her  little  ones,  could  not 
leave  home  She  was  a  gentle,  retined  woman,  skilled  with  her  needle, 
and  better  adapted  to  assist  in  the  lighter  than  in  the  heavier  work  of 
pioneer  life,  although  sharing  in  both.  She  helped  Mrs.  Dexter  in  making 
her  children's  clothes,  and  fashioned  and  made  at  home  the  first  wardrobe 
of  Col.  Simon  B.  Dexter. 

Once,  when  Mr.  Dexter  had  gone  to  Chicago  with  produce,  Mr.  Doan 
happened  to  be  passing  the  creek  on  his  way  to  Inlet  Grove.  He  saw 
Mrs.  Dexter  cutting  ice  to  water  the  cattle.  He  immediately  went  to 
her  relief,  and  finished  the  work  for  her.  His  quick  perception  discovered 
to  him  that  Mrs.  Dexter  was  a  sick  woman.  He  took  her  into  his 
"jumper,"  a  vehicle  which  he  had  fashioned  from  the  boughs  of  trees, 
and  went  to  her  home,  got  the  baby  and  carried  both  to.his  house.  Leav- 
ing her  and  the  infant  in  care  of  his  wife,  he  went  for  his  mother  to  "help 
nurse  her  up;"  and  got  a  sister  to  go  and  stay  with  the  Dexter  children. 
This  was  in  the  morning.  At  evening,  Mrs.  D.  felt  so  much  better  that 
they  took  her  home,  Mr.  Doan's  mother  going  with  her  and  remainig  sev- 
eral days,  until  she  could  leave  her  well,  her  daughters  gladly  fulfilling  her 
duties  at  home,  so  that  their  mother  might  comfort  those  who  needed  her. 

_44  — 


MRS.  JOHN  DOAN. 


It  is  pleasant  to  dwell  on  this  side  of  pioneer  life'when  the  infant 
settlement  abounded  in  the  infantile  graces  of  Christian  life,  and  thought 
more  of  doing  good,  hoping  for  nothing  in  return,  than  of  sectarian  tenets 
and  the  external  things  of  religion.  Truly,  in  these  waste  places  there 
was  a  ladder  where  the  angels  of  God  ascended  and  descended,  although 
the  eyes  of  mortals  were  holden,  and  saw  not  the  heavenly  vision. 

On  the  19th  day  of  September,  1836,  John  and  Charlotte  (Odell)  Doan, 
with  their  children,  Joseph,  William,  Jemima,  Sarah,  Gibson,  Charlotte, 
Elizabeth,  Anna,  Jonathan  and  Ruth,  arrived  in  this  settlement  to  re- 
ceive the  glad  welcome  of  their  oldest  son,  James,  and  his  wife  Susan 
who  came  in  May  and  who  had  been  watching  anxiously  for  the  arrival 
of  father,  mother,  brothers  and  sisters. 

They  commenced  immediately  to  build  a  house  and  ere  long  had  com- 
pleted one,  the  largest  log  house  in  this  section  for  some  time. 

John  Doan  was  a  man  of  excellent  character,  kind  and  true.  He  had 
been  raised  with  the  Quakers  and  partook  of  their  quiet  demeanor,  sound 
principles  and  undemonstrative  disposition.  His  wife  belonged  to  the 
Methodist  church,  and  in  all  her  good  works  and  usefulness  in  the  com- 
munity, she  was  sanctioned  and  encouraged  by  her  husband.  She  was 
one  of  a  number  of  women  doing  the  most  good  in  those  early  days,  con- 
stantly seeking  the  sick  and  needy  and  rendering  every  possible  assist- 
ance to  the  sufferers  within  her  reach.  She  had  a  large  family  and  could 
leave  the  care  of  the  household  with  the  older  ones.  She  was  strong  and 
healthy  and  ambitious  in  all  her  undertakings.  The  itinerant  ministers 
often  held  their  services  at  her  home;  these  generally  occurred  on  week 
days.  The  first  minister  was  by  the  name  of  Lumery,  who  alternated 
later,  once  in  two  weeks,  with  another  by  the  name  of  Smith.  Smith 
died  at  Corrydon  Dewey's  while  on  the  circuit,  and  Lumery  went  on 
the  rest  of  the  year.  Smith  died  in  the  winter  of  1838.  Then  came 
Father  Gorbitt,  a  good  old  man  from  Indian  Creek;  then  a  Mr.  White; 
after  that  Eev.  Luke  Hitchcock,  stationed  at  what  is  now  Lee  Centre, 
often  held  meetings  and  officiated  at  weddings  and  funerals. 

Mrs.  Doan  was  a  devoted  and  reverent  student  of  her  "blessed  Bible," 
and  regretted  that,  having  always  lived  on  the  frontier,  her  advantages 
for  educatiou  had  been  so  limited.  Those  who  knew  her  spoke  of  her  as  a 
"Mother  in  Israel."  Mr.  Thomas  J.  Dexter,  in  writing  of  her  and  his 
mother  and  Mrs.  Col.  Badger,  Mrs.  Wasson  and  Mrs.  Patience  Searles  and 
Mrs.  Varner,  says  there  was  a  "Holy  of  Holies  in  everyone  of  their  lives. '> 

Her  husband  died  in  1844,  at  the  age  of  sixty-two  years,  having  been 
born  in  North  Carolina  September  10,  1782.  They  had  lived  together 

—  47  — 


thirty-five  years,  their  marriage  occurring  December  28,  1809.  Rev.  Luke 
Hitchcock  preached  the  funeral  sermon,  and  in  one  short  year  a  beloved 
daughter  followed  her  father.  Mrs.  Doan  outlived  several  of  her  chil- 
dren and  died  at  the  ripe  age  of  eighty-one  years,  while  with  a  daughter 
in  Missouri. 

She  was  in  usual  health;  her  grandaughter  entered  her  room  in  the 
morning  to  see  if  she  was  ready  for  breakfast  and  found  her  just  reaching 
for  her  cap,  almost  ready  to  join  the  family.  After  a  few  minutes,  as  she 
did  not  appear,  they  went  to  see  what  detained  her  and  saw  her  lying 
across  the  bed,  dead.  She  was  born  September  25,  1788,  and  died 
December  28,  1869. 

"  No  stream  from  its  source 
Flows  onward,  how  lonely  soever  its  course, 
But  that  some  land  is  gladdened.    No  star  ever  rose 
And  set  without  influence  somewhere.    No  life 
Can  be  pure  in  its  purpose  and  strong  in  its  strife, 
And  all  life  not  be  purer  and  stronger  thereby." 


Jemima  Doan  Bainter  was  born  in  Wayne  county,  Indiana,  March  8, 
1816.  She  was  the  oldest  daughter  of  John  and  Charlotte  Doan  who  were 
natives  of  North  and  South  Carolina.  When  about  eighteen  years  of  age 
she  moved  with  her  parents  to  Berrian  county,  Michigan.  In  the  spring 
of  1836,  she  came  with  her  father  and  two  brothers,  James  and  Gibson, 
and  James'  bride,  to  Lee  county,  Illinois,  then  known  as  Jo  Davis  county. 
They  came  in  a  large  wagon  drawn  by  three  yoke  of  oxen,  as  there  were 
no  railroads  in  those  days;  and  twenty-one  days  were  spent  in  this  journey 
of  two  hundred  miles.  They  passed  through  Chicago,  a  dirty,  muddy, 
little  trading  post,  with  no  attraction  for  the  home  seekers,  who  were 
bound  for  Palestine  Grove,  where  their  ideal  of  a  perfect  farm  was  to 
be  with  timber  and  prairie  adjoining  it. 

The  greatest  hardship  of  the  journey  was  in  crossing  the  first  seven 
miles  of  country  directly  west  of  Chicago.  The  ground  was  mostly  cov- 
ered with  water  from  six  to  eighteen  inches  deep,  and  the  weary  travelers 
were  obliged  to  wade  through  to  lighten  the  load  for  the  poor  tired  oxen. 
When  the  sun  went  down  they  were  only  part  way  across.  After  turning 
the  oxen  loose  to  care  for  themselves  as  best  they  could,  they  ate  a  cold 
supper  and  slept  in  the  wagon.  There  were  no  roads  and  many  times 
all  the  things  had  to  be  taken  out  to  get  the  empty  wagon  through  the 
sloughs  and  across  the  bridgeless  creeks.  When  the  roads  were  good  she 
sometimes  would  ride,  but  she  walked  most  of  the  way.  No  wonder  she 

—  48  — 


was  delighted  with  the  beautiful  sight  of  what  was  to  be  her  new  home. 
She  and  Susan,  her  brother  James' wife,  had  secretly  planned  that,  no 
matter  how  the  place  looked,  they  would  say  they  were  pleased;  so  glad 
would  they  be  to  end  that  long  tedious  jonrney.  James  had  visited 
the  place  in  October,  1835  and  selected  his  own,  as  well  as  a  claim  for  his 
father,  and  anoter  for  his  brothes  Joseph.  The  day  of  their  arrival  was 
May  13, 1886.  After  making  a  shanty  and  getting  the  early  seeding  done, 
she  with  her  father  and  Gibson,  returned  to  Michigan  to  bring  the 
remaining  part  of  the  family  to  the  newly  prepared  home,  leaving 
James  and  his  young  wife  here  to  wecome  them  back  in  the  following 
autumn. 

The  3rd  of  May  1838,  she  was  maaried  to  Andrew  Bainter,  from  Mich- 
igan, a  brother  of  James'  wife.  This  was  the  first  wedding  in  this  part 
of  the  country  and  was  attended- by  a  great  many,  and  was  a  merry  time. 
Mr.  Frank  Ingals  and  his  sister,  Deborah,  who  afterwards  married  Dr.  R. 
F.  Adams.  Mr.  Wasson's  family  Mr.  Sawyer's  and  a  number  from  Inlet 
Grove  were  present.  The  young  people  enjoyed  it  so  well  they  kept  the 
games  going  until  the  break  of  day.  In  the  following  fall  they  com- 
menced housekeeping  in  a  small  hewed  log  house  which  Mr.  Bainter  had 
built  with  no  tools  except  axe  and  hammer.  This  was  the  third  house 
built  in  this  section.  The  floors,  as  in  all  the  others,  were  hewed  out  of 
logs.  They  called  them  puncheons.  It  was  situated  near  a  little  creek 
called  Willow  Branch,  on  a  claim,  there  being  no  land  in  market  at  that 
time.  Here  she  spun  and  wove  for  themselves  and  others,  making  beau- 
tiful flannels,  bed-spreads  and  blankets,  table  linen  and  towels;  and  as 
her  family  grew,  making  all  their  winter  clothing,  sewing  and  knitting 
by  the  light  of  a  single  candle,  thinking  it  extravagant  to  burn  more  than 
one  at  a  time  She  delighted  in  fanciful  paterns  in  weaving,  and  the 
one  piece  of  fancy  work  indulged  in  was  netting,  which  adorned  the  cur- 
tains aroundjthe  bed  and  across  the  one  little  window.  As  their  living 
was  plain  one  might  think  that  good  health  would  have  been  assured; 
but  this  was  not  the  case.  They  had  fever  and  ague  and  many  dsieases 
common  to  a  new  country;  and  the  yourig  physician,  Dr.  E.  F.  Adams, 
was  kept  busy,  riding  on  horse-back  many  miles  each  day. 

Chicago  was  the  nearest  market  and  a  week  or  more  was  spent  in  taking 
a  load  of  produce  to  this  place.  A  load  of  dressed  hogs  would  be  sold  for 
$1.25  a  hundred,  and  oats  for  ten  or  fifteen  cents  a  bushel.  Everyone 
who  took  a  load  must  carry  a  lunch  basket  and  live  entirely  on  its  con- 
tents, or  his  expenses  would  exceed  the  price  of  his  produce  sold.  One 
man  who  indulged  in  a  few  luxuries  had  nothing  to  bring  home  but  a 

—  49  — 


calico  gown  for  his  wife;  but  he  was  an  exception,  as  most  of  the  early 
settlers  were  economical.  These  trips  were  mostly  made  in  the  winter, 
the  women  attending  to  the  chores,  and  doing  the  best  they  could.  When 
the  nine  days  had  passed  there  was  great  uneasiness  about  the  absent 
ones  and  great  would  be  the  joy  when  the  creaking  wheels  in  the  cold 
frost  would  be  heard  in  ihe  distance  Sometimes  the  cause  of  delay 
would  be  the  death  of  a  horse,  and  again  a  broken  wheel,  sometimes  an 
unusual  storm.  When  the  marlcet  at  Peru  and  La  Salle  was  opened, 
they  thought  it  only  a  small  trip  to  go  there  with  their  produce.  When 
the  I.  C.  R.  R.  was  built,  and  Amboy  was  located,  it  seemed  like  a  new 
era,  as  indeed  it  was,  to  the  pioneers  of  so  many  years.  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Bainter  were  members  of  the  Methodist  church  for  many  years.  Then 
came  the  war— the  cruel  war.  They  gave  their  oldest  son  to  the  country's 
cause,  and  many  parents  can  tell  the  anguish  these  few  words  contain. 

After  this  they  removed  to  Indiana,  their  one  request  being  to  have 
their  remains  brought  to  Illinois  for  burial.  Andrew  was  the  first  to  go. 
He  died  March,  1884,  and  Jemima  followed  him  in  December  of  the  same 
year.  Their  graves  are  side  by  side  in  the  little  cemetery  at  Bingham- 
ton,  near  the  place  where,  when  life  was  full  of  hope,  they  met,  with 
loving  cheerfuness  I/he  hardships  of  those  early  days. 

LATER  GLEANINGS. 

Jemima  was  full  of  fun.  Once  when  returnig  from  some  gathering 
at  the  "Inlet"  with  her  brother  James,  his  wife  and  a  sister,  they  found 
the  creek  risen  so  that  they  could  not  cross  in  the  wagon;  there  was  one 
way  to  cross;  James  could  swim  the  horse  and  one  girl  at  a  time  could 
tuck  up  her  garments  and  by  riding  on  her  knees  behind  James  and  hold- 
ing on  to  him,  cross  high  and  dry  in  safety.  JemJma  watched  the  droll 
spectacle  and  laughed  until  she  cried.  The  ring  of  her  jolly  ha!  ha!  used 
to  make  the  woods  echo  with  her  glee,  and  reach  ears  too  far  off  to  know 
the  cause  of  it. 

Another  time,  she  with  her  brother  James,  wife  and  sister,  strolled  out 
in  the  grove  on  one  of  the  long  Sunday  afternoons,  and  forgetting  the 
distance  from  home,  found  themselves  obliged  to  cross  a  branch  of  the 
creek  where  the  water  was  several  feet  deep.  So  the  girls  had  to  do  just 
as  anybody  would -wade  in,  carrying  their  shoes  and  stockings.  So  they 
had  a  little  drama  all  to  themselves  on  that  quiet  Sunday;  but  Jemima's 
laugh  reached  the  ears  of  her  mother  who  was  enjoying  a  solemn  medita- 
tive walk,  somewhere  on  the  other  side  of  the  stream;  and  good  mother 
Doan  knew  the  laugh.  One  can  imagine  a  gentle  chiding  with  some  of 
Solomon's  words  as  an  accompaniment. 

—  50  — 


Mrs.  Cynthia  Varner  lived  in  the  Doan  neighborhood,  near  the  log 
school-house,  She  was  a  widow  with  three  small  girls,  at  times  depending 
on  the  neighbors  to  keep  the  wolf  from  the  door:  yet  aver  ready  to  do  all 
she  could  for  the  sick  and  afflicted;  her  neighbors  taking  care  of  her 
children  when  she  could  be  of  service  to  any  one  in  trouble.  Many  of 
them  appreciating  her  usefulness  and  aware  of  her  necessities,  alwavs 
left  a  sack  of  flour  for  her  when  returning  from  mill,  and  contributed 
many  other  things.  She  was  a  "hardy  pioneer,"  and  a  devout  member 
of  the  Methodist  church  often  leading  in  prayer-meeting  and  other  serv- 
ices. Her  greatest  horror  was  heresy.  One  old  settler  writes:  "I  recol- 
lect her  rising  in  her  seat  at  a  meeting  in  the  old  log  school-house  when 
.Toe.  Smith  and  Sidney  Rigdon  were  present,  and  calling  on  God  to  smite 
the  "blasphemers."  No  mention  is  made  whether  any  one  else  was  dis- 
turbed by  them.  Mrs.  Varner  died  June,  1892,  aged  82  years. 


There  is  a  little  anecdote  related  by  Dr.  H /of  Minneapolis,  with 

regard  to  the  capture  of  Black  Hawk,  which  may  not  be  out  of  place  here 

Dr.  H said  he  had  never  seen  it  published,  although  he  could  vouch 

for  its  truthfulness,  his  home  having  been  in  the  vicinity  of  the  place 
referred  to  in  the  story. 

Lying  between  Appleton  and  Oshkosh,  along  the  southern  and  western 
side  of  Lake  Winnebago,  was  a  valuable  tract  of  land  included  in  what 
was  known  as  the  Black  Hawk  purchase  of  1832.  This  land  was  given  to 
an  Indian  by  the  name  of  Juno,  as  part  of  the  compensation  for  informa- 
tion leading  to  the  capture  of  Black  Hawk.  Juno  was  a  confidential 

friend  of  Black  Hawk  and  had  married  into  his  family— Dr  H thought 

was  a  brother-in-law  of  the  warrior.  He  with  his  family  continued  to 
occupy  the  land  long  after  his  betrayed  and  defeated  comrades  had  gone 
in  search  of  new  homes  beyond  the  Mississippi  River. 

On  the  first  day  of  January,  1864,  the  most  terrible  blizzard  that  had 
ever  been  known  swept  over  the  northwest,  and,  unlike  others,  was  so 
cold  that  mercury  congealed.  Juno  had  gone  to  Oshkosh;  the  storm 
abated,  but  he  did  not  return.  His  family  (he  had  a  large  one),  watched 
in  vain.  The  weeks  lengthened  into  months  arid  no  tidings  of  Juno 
reached  them.  At  last  when  spring  came,  and  the  warm  sun  and  winds 
melted  the  great  banks  of  snow  which  had  drifted  around  their  dwelling, 
his  body  was  discovered  lying  prone  in  the  path  a  few  feet  from  the  door 

—  51  — 


of  his  home,  where  he  had  fallen,  and  over  which  his  own  children  had 
been  walking  for  many  weeks. 

In  Ford's  History  of  Illinois,  mention  is  made  of  "Three  Winneba- 
goes,"  who  "gave  intelligence  that  Biack  Hawk  w;is  encamped  at  Cran- 
berry Lake."  Doubtless  further  knowledge  of  the  whole  transaction 
would  reconcile  the  not  altogether  conflicting  narratives. 


MR.  ASA  B.  SEARLES  was  a  native  of  Chenango  county,  New  York, 
and  was  born  January  27,  1810.    Later  in  life  he  was  for  several 
years  in  South  Bainbridge,  New  York.     He  there  attended  a  school 
which  his  brother  taught,  and  had  for  a  schoolmate  Joseph  Smith,  the 
future  Mormon  Prophet,  whom  he  described  as  being  kind-hearted  and 
possessed  of  much  brain,  which  was  supported  by  a  large,  strong  body. 

At  the  age  of  nineteen  years  he  was  engaged  in  piloting  pn  theSusque- 
hanna  River.  He  then  be  -ameacqtiainted  with  those  who  were  afterward 
some  of  our  most  noted  pioneers.  He  continued  in  business  on  the  river 
for  six  years.  On  the  19th  of  September.  1832,  he  was  married  to  Miss 
Patience  Stockwell,  of  Bainbridge.  On  the  19th  of  August,  1837,  he  left 
there  for  Palestine  Grove  with  a  two-horse  team,  in  company  with  thir- 
teen others.  He  arrived  here  October  llth,  and  for  a  while  lived  in  the 
cabin  which  James  Hawley  began;  but  soon  entered  land  and  moved  to  the 
farm  still  owned  by  his  children  in  Binghamton,  near  where  the  Tile 
Factory  now  is.  It  was  he  who  laid  nut  Binghampton  and  named  it  for 
the  town  by  that  name  in  New  York.  He  erected  a  hotel  and  was  the 
first  postmaster  here.  His  son  Lemuel  has  favored  us  with  the  docu- ' 
ment  which  has  the  seal  of  the  postoffice  department  stamped  upon  it. 
and  the  signature  of  the  Postmaster  General,  John  M.  Niles.  The  name 
of  Winooski  was  given  to  the  Palestine  Grove  postoffice.  It  is  the  Indian 
name  for  Onion  River.  The  document  reads  thus: 

"  JOHN  M.  NILES,  POSTMASTER  GENERAL 

OF  THE  UNITED  STATES  OF  AMERICA, 

'TO  ALL  WHO  SHALL  SEE  THESE  PRESENTS.  GREETING: 

"WHEREAS,  On  the  28th  day  of  May,  1840,  Asa  B.  Searles  was  appointed 

postmaster  at  Winooski,  in   the  county  of  Lee,   State  of  Illinois;  and 

whereas  he  did,  on  the  22nd  day  of  June,  1840,  execute  a  bond,  and    has 

taken  the  Oath  of  Office,  as  required   by   Law;   Now   KNOW  YE,   That 

confiding  in  the  integrity,  ability,  and   punctuality  of  the  said   Asa   B. 

Searles,  I  do  commission  him  a  Postmaster,  authorized  to  execute  the  duties 

of  that  office  at  Winooski  aforesaid,  according  to  the  Laws  of  the   United 

States,  and  the  Eegulations  of  tlie  Postoffice  Department',  To  HOLD  the  said 

—  53  - 


office  of  postmaster,  with  all  the  powers,  privileges  and  emoluments,  to 
the  same  belonging,  during  the  pleasure  of  the  Postmaster  General  of  the 
United  States. 

"!N  TESTIMONY  WHEREOF,  I  have  hereunto  set  my  hand,  and  caused 
the  SEAL  OF  THE  POSTOFFICE  DEPARTMENT  to  be  affixed,  at  Washington 
City,  the  30th  day  of  July,  in  the  year  of  our  Lord  one  thousand  eight 
hundred  and  forty,  and  of  the  Independence  of  the  United  States  the 
Sixty-fifth."  ,  JOHNM.  NILES." 

The  mail  was  carried  through  once  a  week  by  a  man  on  horse-back, 
who  had  been  a  soldier  in  the  Black  Hawk  war. 

The  remains  of  the  old  log  building  in  which  the  mail  was  distributed 
was  standing  a  few  yeaas  ago.  After  Mr.  Searles  resigned,  Mr.  Warren 
Badger  succeeded  him.  Mr.  Searles  was  the  first  assessor  of  Amboy. 
His  wife  died  December  19,  1846,  and  was  the  first  one  buried  in  the  cem- 
etery at  Binghampton.  She  was  a  sister  of  Mrs.  Alvan  Thompson  and  of 
Mrs.  Leapha  M.  Palmer,  who  afterwards  married  John  Dexter.  She  was 
an  excellent  woman,  who  enjoyed  the  sincere  respect  of  all. 

Six  years  afterwards  Mr.  Searles  married  Miss  Amanda  Headlee,  who 
had  five  SODS.  The  oldest,  Lemuel,  served  his  country  under  Gen.  Custer, 
in  the  7th  U.  S.  Calvary.  Mr.  Searles  was  possessed  of  excellent  qualities, 
and  was  untiring  in  his  efforts  for  the  prosperity  and  increase  of  the  set- 
tlement in  its  early  days.  The  city  park  was  once  a  part  of  his  estate. 


ELIZABETH   WASSON. 


anel  Eti^afee'tft 


MRS.  ELIZABETH  HALE,  wife  of  Benjamin  Wasson,  was  a  daugh- 
ter of  Isaac  and  Elizabeth  (Lewis)  Hale,  who  emigrated  from  Ver_ 
montto  Pennsylvania  in  1790.    A  letter  from  her  daughter  Clara- 
Mrs.  Backensto — which  gives  an  account  of  the  emigration  of  the  Wasson 
family  to  Illinois,  together  with  a  few  incidents  of  their  subsequent  his- 
tory, seems  a  fitting  introduction  to  our  sketch  of  Mrs.  Benjamin  Wasson. 

FROM  MRS.  BACKENSTO  TO  HER  NIECE,  MRS.  PERKINS. 

"I  regret  the  history  you  speak  of  was  not  written  during  my  mother's 
lifetime,  as  her  memory  was  so  much  better  than  mine.  Those  trying 
times  made  a  more  vivid  impression  on  her  mind.  I  was  too  young. 

"My  father,  Benjamin  Wasson,  and  his  family,  consisting  of  his  wife 
Elizabeth,  three  sons,  Lorenzo,  Harmon  and  Warren,  two  daughters, 
Clara  and  Roxy,  started  from  Harpersville,  Boone  county,  New  York,  some 
time  in  the  latter  part  of  August,  1836;  his  destination  Knoxville,  Illi- 
nois; his  outfit,  two  teams  and  wagons,  one  a  large  covered  wagon  for 
goods:  He  expected  to  go  through  Ohio,  but  the  second  day  out  he  heard 
that  the  Black  Swamp,  in  Ohio,  was  impassable,  so  he  crossed  into  Can- 
ada, at  Lewistown,  passing  through  Detroit  and  Chicago,  down  the  Illi- 
nois River  to  Peoria,  and  from  thence  to  Fannington,  where  he  found  an 
old  neighbor  from  New  York,  Mr.  Samuel  Johnson,  jr.,  who  was  just 
ready  to  move  his  family  to  Dixon,  Illinois,  having  his  goods  packed  and 
waiting  for  the  teams  which  did  not  come;  so  father  unpacked  our  goods 
from  the  wagons  into  the  log-cabin  vacated  by  Mr.  Johnson,  packed  Mr. 
Johnson's  goods  and  family  into  our  wagons  and  leaving  us  in  the  log- 
cabin  took  Lorenzo  and  accompanied  Mr.  Johnson  to  Dixon's  Terry,  as  it 
was  then  called.  So  you  see  we  found  a  home,  such  as  it  was,  at  the  end 
of  our  long  journey  of  six  weeks.  Father  drove  one  of  the  teams  for  Mr. 
Johnson  and  the  journey  proved  to  be  a  longer  and  more  tedious  one  than 
they  expected,  both  for  teams  and  drivers.  Mr.  Johnson,  who  was  a 
shoemaker,  had  some  sides  of  sole-leather  with  him,  and  these  they  were 
obliged  to  spread  down  as  bridges  for  the  teams  to  pass  over  the  quick- 
sand swamps.  They  could  never  have  completed  the  journey  had  it  not 
been  for  them. 

—  57  — 


"Your  grandfather  was  so  charmed  with  the  country  in  the  vicinity  of 
what  is  now  Amboy,  that  he  concluded  to  locate  claims  for  himself  and 
two  oldest  sons,  and  did  so  on  what  is  now  the  old  homestead. 

"He  then  returned  to  Farmington  and  found  us  settled.  Harmon  had 
dug  potatoes  on  shares  until  he  had  enough  to  last  us  through  the 
winter;  also  by  husking  corn,  had  bought  some  pigs;  so  father  concluded 
to  stay  there  a  year,  so  as  to  raise  provisions  to  last  until  he  could  get 
started  in  the  new  place,  as  the  country  was  so  unsettled  that  it  was  im- 
possible to  get  provisions. 

"In  the  winter,  he  and  Harmon  and  Lorenzo  went  to  what  was  then 

.Palestine  Grove,  where  they  cut  the  logs  for  the  "Old  Log  Cabin,"  and 

with  the  assistance  of  John  Dexter,  John  Doan  and  his  two  sons,  James 

and  Joseph,  rolled  them  up  and  put  the  roof  on,  after  which  they  returned 

to  Farmington. 

"The  next  summer,  in  August,  after  the  crops  were  attended  to,  he  and 
the  boys  went  back  to  Palestine  to  get  out  rails  and  fence  a  small  piece 
of  ground,  make  hay,  build  a  stable,  break  prairie  and  sow  some  wheat, 
taking  Clara  (myself)  along  to  cook  and  keep  house  for  them.  For  six 
weeks  I  lived  in  that  lonely  cabin  on  the  wide  prairie  (I  was  but  fourteen 
then),  and  many  a  scare  I  had.  The  last  day  and  night  we  were  there, 
father  and  the  boys  went  to  the  timber,  cut  some  logs  and  hauled  them 
to  Rocky  Ford,  where  there  was  a  saw-mill,  run  by  Meek,  I  think,  and 
had  them  sawed  into  boards,  from  which  they  made  our  floor — the  first 
floor  made  of  sawed  boards  in  that  country,  the  others  being  made  of. 
puncheon,  that  is,  logs  split  into  strips.  They  did  not  get  home  until 
ten  o'clock  at  night.  The  next  morning  they  laid  the  floor,  after  which 
we  started  for  home  in  the  afternoon.  It  was  about  ninety  miles  from 
Amboy  to  Farmington.  My  father  made  several  journeys  between  the 
two  places  and  we  moved  to  our  new  home  in  December,  1837,  a  cold, 
cheerless  wind  and  snow  in  our  faces  most  of  the  way. 

"Father  used  to  have  to  go  to  Peoria  to  get  his  grain  ground  into  flour. 
The  last  journey  he  made  was  in  the  winter;  he  expected  to  get  back  be- 
fore we  got  out  of  bread,  but  before  he  got  home  there  came  up  a  furious 
storm  of  snow  and  wind,  drifting  it  into  hollows  and  sloughs  so  they 
became  impassable.  Father  reached  Greenfield,  now  LaMoille,  late  in 
the  day,  and  notwithstanding  that  it  was  dangerous  to  cross  the  prairie 
during  the  storm,  he  had  been  delayed  so  long  he  feared  we  were  in  need, 
so  he  resolved  to  push  on.  He  did,  but  was  obliged  to  go  before  the  horses 
and  beat  a  track  for  them  through  the  hollows.  He  reached  Thomas 
Fessenclen's  late  at  night  completely  tired  out.  He  stayed  there  tbe 

-  58  — 


remainder  of  the  night  and  reached  home  the  next  morning,  just  as 
mother  was  making  the  last  corn-meal  into  a  Johnny  cake. 

"Mother  always  kept  a  beacon  light  burning  in  the  little  north  window 
of  the  old  cabin,  so  that  if  any  person  was  wandering  on  that  wide  prai- 
rie it  would  guide  them  to  a  shelter. 

"In  about  three  years  father  built  a  frame  house,  Uncle  Jesse  Hale, 
from  Pennsylvania,  occupying  the  log  house.  Father  brought  the  lumber 
for  the  new  house  from  Chicago  across  the  country,  ninety  miles. 

"In  the  spring  of  1849,  father  went  to  California.  He  died  on  the  way 
back,  of  congestive  chills— never  reached  home." 

So  here,  in  the  winter  of  1837,  the  Wasson  family  took  possession  of 
their  new  home  with  its  one  small  window,  and  that  toward  the  north — 
but  how  much  light  and  cheer  and  comfort  flowed  forth  from  that  cabin 
as  the  years  went  by,  it  needs  a  mighty  pen  to  tell. 

Little  Clara,  fourteen  years  old,  had  been  the  flrst  to  consecrate  it  to 
home.  Her  light  footsteps  had  sounded  on  the  puncheons  which  would  fly 
up  at  one  end  when  she  trod  on  the  other.  She  had  acted  the  woman's 
part  in  preparing  the  food  and  in  "keeping  house"  for  her  father  and 
brothers,  she  had  roamed  about  the  prairie  in  their  absence,  gathering 
grapes  and  plums,  often  calling  on  Mrs.  Dexter,  who  loaned  her  books, 
among  others,  the  "History  of  the  Reformation,"  which  she  read  through. 
She  had  staid  alone  when  father  and  brothers  were  belated,  from  being 
detained  at  the  saw-mill,  and  in  the  darkness  had  hidden,  trembling  in 
the  covered  wagon,  listening  to  the  howling  wolves,  and  not  daring  to 
enter  the  cabin  lest  some  dreadful  creature  might  be  lurking  in  a  corner. 
She  did  not  then  know  of  the  "Banditti."  Was  it  the  fore-shadowing  of 
their  dark  deeds  which  even  then  filled  her  with  terror?  But,  at  last, 
she  heard  the  welcome  sound  of  the  coming  wagon  with  the  boards  for 
the  floor,  which  were  laid  the  next  morning,  and  in  the  afternoon  they 
were  all  on  their  way  to  Farmington.  This  was  in  September,  and  in 
December  all  the  family  returned,  the  trip  requiring  two  days.  The  flrst 
night  they  stopped  at  a  Mr.  Bond's,  the  next  at  Mr.  Doan's. 

In  Mrs.  Backensto's  letter  we  see  what  wise  and  prudent  forethought 
had  been  displayed  by  Mr  and  Mrs.  Wasson,  in  making  ample  provision 
for  the  winter  by  improving  the  opportunities,  both  here  and  at  Farming- 
ton.  Hence  they  were  prepared  to  make  themselves  comfortable  and  to 
do  good  to  all  whom  Providence  might  lead  in  their  way.  They  seemed 
never  to  think  of  their  own  comfort  or  convenience,  either  physically  or 
financially,  when  they  could  assist  others  in  this  new  and  sparsely  settled 
country.  From  the  time  of  Mrs.  Wasson's  coming  she  always  endeavored 

—  59  — 


to  keep  a 'light  in  the  only  window  at  night,  especially  on  dark  and  stormy 
nights,  so  if  there  were  any  belated  travelers  wandering  on  the  prairie  it 
would  guide  them  to  a  shelter;  and  any  who  came  received  the  warmest 
welcome  and  the  best  the  house  afforded.  The  light  could  sometimes  be 
seen  for  miles,  to  the  old  Chicago  road. 

Mrs.  Wasson  was  a  ministering  angel  in  sickness.  During  a  long 
season  of  ill  health  she  had  studied  medical  works,  and  in  this  country, 
where  doctors  and  nurses  were  not  to  be  had,  such  knowledge  proved  to 
be  invaluable.  She  would  often  leave,  her  bed  on  dark,  tempestuous 
nights  and  ride  miles  toattend  upon  the  suffering  where  her  ministrations 
were  most  successful.  There  was  a  strength  and  self-possession  in  her 
character  which  invited  the  confidence  of  the  sick:  there  was  a  flrrn, 
sedate,  yet  cheerful  kindness  which  carried  a  most  salutary  influence  into 
the  chamber  of  sickness.  She  was  above  medium  height,  straight  and 
strong,  with  a  commanding  presence.  Her  complexion  was  fair,  her  eyes 
blue,  and  her  hair  a  soft  brown.  No  one  could  have  doubted  her  straight- 
forward, uncompromising  integrity.  It  came  to  be  a  saying,  "Mrs.  Was- 
son can  do  anything  for  everybody,"  and  her  husband  kindly  lent  her 
his  aid. 

Not  very  long  after  their  coming,  a  death  occurred  about  two  miles 
away.  A  family  by  the  name  of  Abbott  lost  a  little  daughter;  there  was 
no  lumber  to  be  had  for  a  coffin,  so  Mr.  Wasson  took  the  remains  of  an 
Indian  canoe,  made  of  a  black  walnut  log  which  one  of  the  boys  found  on 
the  prairie,  partly  consumed  by  flre,  and  made  a  pretty  casket  for  the 
little  one. 

Whenever  a  wandering  missionary  came  along,  as  they  sometimes  did, 
Mr.  Wasson  would  send  one  of  his  sons  on  horseback  to  notify  the  settlers 
that  there  would  be  Divine  service  at  his  house.  Mrs.  Wasson  would  set 
the  cabin  in  order  and  every  one  who  could  come  would  do  so. 

We  have  seen  how  ready  Mr.  Wasson  was  to  assist  his  wife  in  her  use- 
fulness, and  there  are  many  like  instances  remembered.  Twelve  years 
after  their  settlement  here  the  excitement  caused  by  the  California  gold 
mines  induced  him,  in  company  with  his  youngest  son,  to  try  his  fortune 
there.  They  proceeded  to  Nauvoo,  and  after  resting  at  Mrs.  Smith's,  Mrs. 
Wasson's  sister,  crossed  the  river  into  the  then  track  less  west.  After  long 
and  anxious  waiting,  the  sad  tidings  of  Mr.  Wasson's  death,  which  oc- 
curred in  February,  1851,  reached  his  family;  and  Mrs.  Wasson  was 
destined  to  walk  the  rest  of  Life's  pathway  in  the  shadows.  To  her  might 
have  been  dedicated  the  following  lines,  so  literally  did  she  seem  to 
realize  them  in  her  life: 

—  60  — 


"Arise  my  friend,  and  go  about 

Thy  darkened  house  with  cheerful  feet; 
Yield  not  one  jot  to  fear  nor  doubt, 

But  baffled,  broken,  still  repeat; 

'Tis  mine  to  work,  and  not  to  win ; 

The  soul  muW  wait  to  have  her  wing*; 
Even  time  is  but  a  landmark  in 

The  great  eternity  of  things. 

Arise  and  all  thy  tasks  fulfill, 

And  as  thy  day  thy  strength  shall  be; 

• 
Were  there  no  power  beyond  the  ill, 

The  ill  could  not  have  come  to  thee. 

Though  cloud  and  storm  encompass  thee, 

Be  not  afflicted  nor  afraid ; 
Thou  knowest  the  shadow  could  not  be 

Were  there  no  sun  beyond  the  shade." 

She  continued  her  active  life,  carrying  on  the  farm  and  "going  about 
doing  good."  She  had  joined  with  Mrs.  Col  Badger,  Mrs.  De Wolfe  and 
others  in  sustaining  worship  in  the  form  she  most  loved,  while  she  could, 
but  when  that  failed  she  worshipped  in  the  Methodist  Episcopal  church. 
With  her  social  nature  she  entered  into  the  work  of  that  society,  held 
socials  at  her  house  and  assisted  in  every  way.  When  Mr.  Broaduax 
was  here,  and  the  Episcopal  church  again  held  seivice,  she  attended  it. 
Her  son,  Harmon,  h;id  studied  medicine  and  was  practicing  here.  He 
often  spoke  of  the  great  assistance  his  mother's  experience  and  advice 
had  been  to  him. 

Mrs.  Wasson  had  three  brothers  who  settled  in  this  county;  Jesse, 
David  arid  Alva  Hale;  also  a  sister,  Mrs.  Trial  Morse,  who  was  killed  in 
a  tornado  in  the  summer  of  1859.  At  the  same  time  her  oldest  daughter, 
Emma,  was  so  badly  injured  that  she  died  after  two  weeks  of  intense 
suffering,  having  nearly  every  bone  in  her  body  broken.  Mrs.  Morse  was 
killed  almost  instantly,  being  caught  in  the  whirl  and  transfixed  through 
the  abdomen  with  a  fence-stake.  When  Mrs.  Wasson  was  notified  of  the 
calamity,  she  hastened  to  the  dreadful  scene.  With  stony  face  and  tear- 
less eyes,  she  looked  upon  the  wreck  of  her  sister  and  niece — she  could 
not  weep.  She  said  it  would  do  her  good  if  she  could,  but  she  had  passed 
through  so  much  trouble  she  was  beyond  it.  She  consoled  herself  with 
the  reflection  that  her  sister  had  "gone  home  to  her  God  in  who;n  she 
had  always  trusted  and  was  better  off." 

—  61  — 


"We  make  the  least  ado  o'er  greatest  troubles, 

Our  very  anguish  does  our  anguish  drown: 
The  sea  forms  only  just  a  few  faint  bubbles 

Of  stifled  breathing,  when  a  ship  goes  down." 

Mrs.  Wasson  continued  to  live  on  the  old  place  until  near  the  end  of 
1863,  when  to  the  hardships  of  pioneer  life  and  numerous  added  afflctioris 
her  health  gave  way  and  the  old  home  was  broken  up.  She  went  to  live 
with  her  youngest  child,  Carrie,  who  married  Rev.  Erastus  DeWolfe,  and 
went  home  to  her  reward,  May  18,  1874. 

The  older  children,  Lorenzo  D.  Wasson,  Dr.  Harmon  Wasson  and  Roxy 
Emma,  who  became  Mrs.  Simon  Badger,  all  died  at  Amboy,  in  the  prime 
of  life,  and  Mrs.  DeWolfe  is  now  numbered  with  the  departed  ones.  Mrs. 
Clara  M.  Backensto  is  at  Fort  Logan,  Colorado,  and  Mr.  Warren  Wasson 
is  at  Carson  City,  Nevada.  Mr.  Arthur  P.  Wasson,  son  of  Lorenzo  D., 
owns  and  lives  on  the  old  farm  and  has  sons  and  daughters.  The  remain- 
ing grandchildren  and  great-grandchildren  are  scattered  from  New  York 
to  Colorado  and  Nevada. 

The  old  "Wasson  house"  has  gone  to  decay  and  disappeared.  Until 
within  a  few  years,  the  two-story,  weather-beaten  mansion  which  con- 
tained the  first  floor  of  sawed  boards  in  the  place,  and  which  had  held  a 
welcome  for  all  who  sought  its  hospitable  doors  for  so  many  years,  stood 
dark  against  the  sky,  a  landmark  indeed,  and  for  some  years  unoccupied. 
How  often  have  been  recalled  to  passers  by  some  of  the  lines  of  "The  De- 
serted House." 

"Gloom  is  upon  thy  lone  hearth 

O  silent  house !  once  filled  with  mirth ; 
Sorrow  is  in  the  breezy  sound 

Of  thy  tall  poplars  whispering  round. 

The  shadow  of  departed  hours 

Hangs  dim  upon  thine  early  flowers; 
Even  in  thy  sunshine  seems  to  brood 

Something  more  deep  than  solitude. 


Tfie 


sur 


JAMES  BLAIR  came  here  In  the  spring  of  1838,  and  located  a  claim 
just  west  of  Rocky  Ford,  where  his  son,  Edwin  M.  Blair,  now  resides- 
Here  he  built  a  log  cabin,  broke  prairie  and  prepared  for  his  family; 
boarding,  a  part  of  the  time,  before  they  came,  at  Mr.  Dexter's.    The 
next  Spring,  Mrs.  Blair,  with  her  two  youngest  children,  sons,  came  the 
long  tedious  journey  from  Jamestown,  New  York,  via.  Pittsburgh,  Penn- 
sylvania, down  the  Alleghany  River  and  the  Ohio  to  St.  Louis,  up  the 
Mississippi  to  the  mouth  of  the  Illinois  River,  and  up  the  Illinois  to 
Peru;  and  from  thence  by  wagon  to  this  place. 

In  June,  Mr.  E.  Blair,  with  a  brother  and  two  sisters,  traveled  the 
same  route,  and  at  length  reached  the  new  home  in  the  "far  distant  west." 
So  the  whole  family  were  here  with  the  exception  of  the  oldest  son, 
James,  who  followed  in  1846. 

It  is  hard  to  conceive  what  must  have  been  their  feelings  on  reaching 
this  wilderness,  after  having  lived  in  a  place  like  Jamestown,  a  village 
on  the  outlet  of  Chautauqua  Lake,  where  the  boats  plied  up  and  down, 
and  where  there  was  a  fine  water-power  for  extensive  business;  good  soci-" 
ety  and  many  advantages  to  leave  with  regret.  Some  of  the  sketches  of 
pioneer  life  which  have  proceeded  this,  have  depicted  the  trials  to  which 
the  family  were  soon  to  be  introduced.  Fever  and  ague  and  billious  dif- 
ficulties were  prevalent,  and  often  there  were  not  well  ones  enough  to 
care  for  the  sick.  Mrs.  Blair  possessed  the  heavenly  gift  of  knowing  just 
what  to  do  to  relieve  the  suffering  and  in  some  cases  which  called  for  the 
greatest  skill,  she  was  the  means  of  their  restoration  to  health. 

At  one  time  Mrs.  Wasson  was  ill  and  weak  and  unable  for  a  long  time 
to  perform  her  accustomed  duties.  Mrs.  Blair  visited  her  frequently  and 
once  recomended  her  to  make  an  infusion  of  timothy  hay  and  to  drink 
it  freely,  having  known  a  similar  case  cured  by  that  means.  Mrs.  Was- 
son followed  her  advice  and  was  very  soon  benefltted  by  doing  so.  Many 
instances  of  Mrs.  Blair's  usefulness  and  neighborly  kindness  and  success- 
ful treatment  of  alarming  maladies  are  related.  Sickness  came  to  her 

—  63  — 


own  family  and  she  had  need  herself,  of  the  ministrations  of  her  friends; 
and  she  was  not  without  them.  Indeed,  instances  of  reciprocal  kindness 
warm  from  the  heart,  of  noble  forgetful  ness  of  self,  unshrinking  firmness, 
calm  endurance,  and  sometimes  reckless  bravery  are  so  often  brought  to 
light  in  searching  out  these  incidents  of  pioneer  life,  that  the  faith  in 
human  nature  which  only  happy  childhood  knows  comes  back,  and  !la 
light  that  never  was  on  land  or  sea"  glimmers  through  the  mist. 

Mrs.  Blair  was  a  quiet  home-woman.  Her  oldest  children  were  daugh- 
ters who  married  and  left  home  early,  leaving  her  with  a  large  share  of 
household  labor  to  perform;  yet  she  hadcasther  "bread  upon  the  waters," 
and  in  due  season  it  returned  to  her. 

One  cold  winter  night  when  the  prairie  was  covered  with  snow  and  ice, 
she  was  taken  very  sick.  So  alarming  was  her  illness  that  it  seemed  im- 
possible for  her  to  live  until  morning.  Her  son  Edwin  went  for  Mrs. 
Hook;  she  was  at  home  alone  with  her  three  little  children,  her  husband 
having  gone  on  one  of  those  pioneer  journeys.  When  she  heard  how  Mrs. 
Blair  needed  her,  she  thought  at  first,  that  she  could  not  leave  her  child- 
ren; but  she  had  taught  them  filial  obedience  in  her  cheerful,  loving 
decided  way,  and  she  knew  she  could  trust  them.  So  she  awakened  her 
oldest  daughter  and  told  where  she  was  going,  and,  covering  the  three 
together  in  the  warm  bed,  gave  directions  for  them  to  stay  there  until 
she  returned,  and  she  would  come  as  early  in  the  morning  as  she  could. 
She  started  with  Edwin  straight  across  the  prairie,  for  there  were  no 
roads  or  fences  then.  She  found  it  so  very  slippery  that  it  would  take  a 
long  time  for  her  to  get  there — no  rubbers  in  those  days — so  she  sat  down 
and  took  off  her  shoes  and  went  in  her  stockings,  that  no  time  might  be 
lost.  Fortunately  her  stockings  were  thick  woolen  ones,  of  her  own  knit- 
ting. She,  too,  was  one  who  knew  just  what  to  do  in  sickness  and  trouble, 
and  her  prompt  assistance  brought  relief  to  Mrs.  Blair;  and  Mrs.  Hook 
returned  home  in  the  morning  to  find  her  children  safe  where  she  had 
left  them. 

It  would  be  gratifying  to  Mrs.  Blair's  children  and  descendents  to  hear 
all  the  kind  and  respectful  words  that  are  spoken  of  her  by  those  who 
have  known  her  all  these  years,  and  the  tender  and  appreciative  things  said 
of  her  by  her  daughter-in-law.  Mrs.  E.  M.Blair.  Her  last  sickness  was  ex- 
ceedingly distressing,  the  result  of  a  fall,  and  after  lingering  many  weeks 
and  receiving  the  loving  care  of  her  son  and  family  she  went  Home! 

Mr.  James  Blair  was  born  at  Blanford,  Connecticut,  June  3,  1788. 
Mrs.  Fanny  (Hamilton)  Blair,  was  born  at  Worcester,  Massachusetts, 
February  15,  1792.  They  were  married  about  1814,  at  Stockbridge,  Oneida 

—  64  — 


county.  New  York.  They  had  eight  children.  One  son  died  in  childhood. 
The  others  were  James  E.,  Winthrop  H.,  Edwin  M.,  William  W.  and 
Charles  L.,  and  two  daughters,  Elmina  and  Caroline. 

James  R.  came  to  Illinois  in -1846,  and  died  March  18,  1857.  Charles 
L.,  the  youngest,  was  drowned  September  3,  1850.  Elmina  Jane,  died 
March  10,  1853,  at  East  Grove,  Bureau  County,  Illinois.  Mr.  James  Blair 
died  at  Aniboy,  Illinois,  June  12,  1851.  Mrs.  Blair,  his  widow,  died  at 
the  same  place,  January  17,  1881. 

There  are  at  this  time,  1893,  three  sons  and  one  daughter  living:  E.  M. 
Blair,  who  lives  on  the  old  homestead,  two  and  a  half  miles  southwest  of 
Amboy,  W.  W.  and  W.  H.  Blair,  of  Lamoni,  Decatur  county,  Iowa,  and 
Mrs.  Caroline  Kimball,  of  Neilsville  Clark  county,  "Wisconsin. 

REMINISCENCES  OF  MR.  EDWIN  M.   BLAIR. 

One  Autumn  Mr.  Blair  went  to  Chicago  with  a  load  of  wheat,  drawn 
by  three  yoke  of  oxen.  It  usually  required  about  nine  days  to  accomplish 
the  trip,  with  mercy  to  the  oxen.  At  that  season  of  the  year  it  was  the 
custom  to  camp  out  on  the  way,  and  also  to  carry  ones'  own  provisions  as 
far  as  possible  in  order  to  have  anything  left  from  the  money  received  for 
the  produce.  One  place  of  encampment  was  at  Desplaines,  about  twelve 
miles  this  side  of  Chicago.  It  was  in  a  large  grove,  the  trees  not  too  close 
to  render  the  place  aught  but  a  delightful  camping  ground.  There  were 
gathered  there  over  a  hundred  and  fifty  teams,  on  the  way,  either  to  or 
from  Chicago.  There  was  one  man  who  came  from  Knox  county,  with  an 
ox  team,  who  had  kept  up  with  his  companions  who  catne  with  horses, 
all  the  distance.  The  way  he  accomplished  the  feat  was  by  breaking  his 
encampment  an  hour  or  two  earlier  in  the  morning  than  his  companions 
did,  traveling  later  in  the  evening,  or  until  he  overtook  them.  On  this 
morning,  when  Mr.  Blair  was  present,  this  man  yoked  up  his  team  and 
got  under  way  about  three  o'clock  in  the  morning.  He  appeared  to  be  a 
happy  man,  for  as  he  proceeded  on  his  way  singing,  the  morning  air  bore 
back  the  words  he  sang: 

"O  how  happy  are  they 

Who  their  Savior  obey, 

And  have  laid  up  their  treasures  above: 

Tongue  can  never  express 

The  sweet  comfort  and  peace 

Of  a  soul  in  its  earliest  love." 

In  the  winter  of  18—,  Mr.  Heman  Mead  started  from  his  home,  adjoin- 
ing what  is  now  the  County  Farm,   in   Eldena,  for  Pine  Creek  mill,  near 

—  65  — 


Mt.  Morris,  with  a  load  of  grain,  crossing  Rock  River  at  Dixon,  on  the 
ice.  He  reached  the  mill  in  safety,  had  his  grist  ground  and  was  on  his 
way  home,  reaching  Dixon  about  ten  or  eleven  o'clock  in  the  evening. 
He  drove  onto  the  ice,  following  the  track  over  which  he  had  passed  in 
the  morning.  When  in  about  the  middle  of  the  river,  in  the  current  of 
the  stream,  his  horses  broke  through  the  ice,  and  horses,  wagon  and  grain 
were  drawn  under.  Mr.  Mead  had  the  presence  of  mind  to  throw  his  arms 
out  over  the  ice,  and  having  on  a  thick  coat,  the  ice  held  him,  freezing  on- 
to the  coat-sleeves.  He  shouted  for  help.  For  a  long  time  his  calls 
reached  no  ones  ears.  At  last,  some  travelers  who  stopped  at  the  Phoenix 
hotel,  which  was  near  the  river,  were  shown  by  the  clerk  to  their  room, 
which,  providentially,  had  a  window  which  was  not  quite  closed.  As 
they  were  preparing  for  bed  one  of  them  said  he  was  sure  he  heard  some 
one  calling  as  if  in  distress.  On  going  to  the  window  to  open  it  to  listen, 
he  found  it  partly  open,  which  fortunate  fact  allowed  the  call  to  be  heard 
by  him.  They  immediately  descended  to  the  office  and  a  party  of  them 
started  toward  the  river  in  the  direction  of  the  sound.  On  arriving 
where  Mr.  Mead  was,  they  found  it  wonld  not  be  safe  to  venture  further 
without  returning  to  the  house  and  getting  boards  with  which  they  could 
reach  and  rescue  him.  He  was  taken  to  the  hotel  and  everything  was 
done  for  his  comfort.  In  the  morning  the  good  people  of  Dixon  contrib- 
uted money  enough  to  buy  him  another  wagon,  a  pair  of  horses  and  a 
load  of  grain,  and  as  there  was  some  money  left  it  was  given  him,  and  he 
was  sent  on  home  rejoicing.  It  makes  one  feel  like  breaking  forth  into 
singing  the  anthem  of  the  angels  of  Bethlehem  when  hearing  of  such 
things 


Mr.  Blair  relates  an  incident  in  which  his  father  was  the  actor.  He 
bad  been  to  Wilson's  mill  on  the  Elkhorn,  about  thirty-two  miles  north- 
west of  here,  and  was  on  his  return  home.  He  crossed  the  river  at  Dixon 
and  came  out  on  the  Peoria  road.  It  was  in  the  evening  and  he  lost  his 
way.  After  traveling  a  long  time,  and  it  appeared  as  if  he  was  coming 
back  to  where  he  had  been,  his  oxen  were  getting  too  tired  to  go  farther. 
He  had  no  way  to  judge  what  direction  to  go,  for  the  night  was  dark;  so 
he  moved  his  flour  to  the  other  end  of  the  wagon  and  prepared  to  wait 
until  daybreak.  It  was  in  December  and  he  was  suffering  with  the  cold. 
Fortunately  his  dog  went  with  him  and  taking  him  under  the  blankets 
which  he  had,  he  waited  until  dawn,  the  warmth  of  the  dog  keeping  him 
from  freezing.  With  the  first  light  he  espied  the  grove  in  the  distant 
horizon  and  lost  no  time  in  reaching  home. 

—  66  — 


Mr.  Blair  describes  the  ruins  of  Indian  lodges  which  were  in  the  vicin- 
ity of  his  farm,  in  two  or  three  different  places;  also  the  manner  of  dis- 
posing of  the  remains  of  the  dead.  The  body  of  one  Indian  was  standing 
tied  to  a  tree  and  a  fence  was  built  around  it  higher  than  the  head;  the 
rails  fastened  close  together  as  if  to  afford  careful  protection  from  incau- 
tiuus  intrusion.  This  was  quite  near  to  the  ruined  lodges.  Mr.  Blair  has 
seen  two  similar  sepulchers  of  the  Indian  dead,  in  his  journeyings  in 
Northern  Illinois. 


Mr.  Blair,  on  one  occasion,  took  ten  barrels  of  flour  from  Grand  Detour 
to  Peru,  from  which  place  it  was  to  be  shipped;  crossing  the  river  about 
three  miles  north  of  Dixon.  It  was  in  the  latter  part  of  May  or  tlrst  of 
June.  On  the  way  he  got  "sloughed"  three  times,  each  time  having  all 
the  barrels  to  unload  and  reload.  At  one  place  his  horse  and  heavily 
laden  wagon  sank  so  deeply  in  the  mire  that  they  were  extracted  with 
great  difficulty.  He  was  alone  and  it  was  evening.  Usually  two  or  more 
teams  went  in  company  to  avoid  such  solitary  disasters.  Mr.  Blair 
waded  in  and  unfastened  his  horses  from  the  wagon  and  led  them  out, 
and  then  started  off  to  find  help.  He  reached  a  house  and  found  no  one 
at  home  but  the  children;  but  with  their  knowledge  he  took  a  wagon  and 
with  that  returned  to  the  slough  He  wheeled  it  near  the  other  wagon 
and  alone  lifted  five  barrels  into  it,  attached  his  horses  to  it  and  drew  it 
out,  unloaded  and  repeated  the  work  for  the  other  five  barrels,  and  so 
finally  drew  the  mired  wagon  out,  all  the  time  the  rain  corning  down. 

At  another  time,  he  with  his  brother-in-law,  Mr.  Abbott,  took  a  load 
of  wheat  to  mill  in  Grand  Detour.  It  was  in  December  and  wheat  suffic- 
ient for  the  winter  was  to  be  ground,  lest  the- mills  should  freeze  up  so 
that  grinding  would  be  impossible.  They  started  in  the  morning  with 
oxen,  and  reached  their  destination  about  five  o'clock  in  the  afternoon, 
there  to  find  many  waiting  with  grists  which  would  require  three  days 
work.  The  river  was  frozen  partly  over,  but  chaining  the  oxen  to  the 
cart,  they  left  them,  and  managed  to  get  the  grain  over  the  ice  to  where 
a  kind  of  wharf  was  built  out  to  reach  the  ice,  making  a  way  to  get  the 
grain  to  the  mill.  But  what  could  they  do?  There  were  no  houses 
within  several  miles,  and  to  wait  three  days  seemed  impossible.  Soap- 
pealing  to  the  kind  hearted  miller  and  telling  him  how  far  they  were 
from  home,  he  told  them  that  if  they  would  have  the  grain  at  hand  and 

—  69  — 


would  wait  until  after  all  the  others  were  asleep,  he  would  grind  theirs 
so  that  they  could  get  away.  About  nine  o'clock  all  were  asleep  and  their 
grist  was  soon  in  the  mill.  A  young  man  from  Mt.  Morris  was  there 
with  a  team  on  that  side  of  the  river,  with  whom  Mr.  Blair  had  formed 
some  acquaintance  that  afternoon  while  waiting.  He  ventured  to  awake 
him  and  ask  him  to  help  them  with  the  flour  over  the  river,  or  out  to  the 
ice  where  they  could  transfer  it  to  their  wagons.  He  good  naturedly  con- 
sented and  when  the  task  was  accomplished  he  refused  to  receive  any 
compensation  for  his  night's  labor;  Mr.  Blair  promising  to  return  the 
favor  if  he  ever  had  an  opportunity. 

It  was  nearly  or  quite  midnight  when  they  started  for  home.  They 
suffered  extremely  with  the  cold,  especially  Mr.  Abbott,  Mr.  Blair  taking 
care  to  exercise  all  he  could.  They  arrived  at  Mr.  Hannum's  "hay-house" 
about  five  o'clock  the  next  morning,  when  Mrs.  Hannum  prepared  them 
a  nice  breakfast,  and  thus  they  were  able  to  reach  home  in  the  morn- 
ing, greatly  to  the  surprise  and  delight  of  the  family. 

The  summer  of  1844  was  one  unusally  wet  and  the  stream  at  Rocky 
Ford  overflowed  its  banks,  washing  away  the  south  part  of  the  bridge, 
over  which  the  stage  from  Galena  to  Peoria  (afterward  from  Galena  to 
Peru)  used  to  pass,  stopping  at  Mr.  Hook's.  When  the  mail  wagon  ar- 
rived, the  crossing  was  accomplished  by  swimming  the  horses  over  and 
taking  the  mail  and  passengers,  if  there  were  any,  across  in  a  boat,  bor- 
rowing another  wagon  for  the  remainder  of  the  route,  and  on  the  return 
trip  crossing  the  same  way,  leaving  the  borrowed  wagon  and  taking  the 
mail  wagon  again  on  the  other  side  of  the  stream.  It  was  difficult  to 
build  a  bridge  at  that  time,  the  facilities  for  the  heavy  work  required 
being  unobtainable;  so  the  bridge  could  not,  at  once,  be  repaired. 

It  is  not  strange  that  in  the  quietude  of  these  prairie  homes,  any  unus- 
ual event  like  the  rising  of  the  river,  and  the  destruction  of  the  bridge 
should  attract  the  neighbors  to  the  scene;  and  here,  on  this  day  to  which 
the  story  refers,  were  gathered  Mr.  John  Hook,  wife,  baby  and  mother, 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  Carmichael  and  child,  who  lived  in  a  cabin  near  the  Ford, 
and  the  stage-driver;  some  of  them  quite  eager  to  take  a  trip  in  the  boat 
across  the  water.  Standing  on  the  north  part  of  the  bridge  which  had 
withstood  the  flood,  were  Mr,  Edwin  Blair,  and  his  brother,  who  had 
comedown  to  view  the  swollen  river  and  the  destruction  caused  by  the 
flood.  Mr.  Blair  saw,  with  fear,  the  party  get  into  the  boat  and  remon- 
strated with  Mr.  Hook;  but  Mr.  Hook's  perfect  confidence  in  the  ability 
of  his  mother,  who  could  control  a  canoe  while  standing  in  it,  made  him 

—  70  — 


blind  to  the  danger.  All  ventured  aboard,  Mr.  Hook  remaining  on  the 
bridge  with  Mr.  Blair  and  brother  to  see  the  departure  of  the  pleasure 
seekers.  Mr.  Hook's  mother,  a  tall  women,  standing  in  the  center  of  the 
boat,  Mrs.  Hook  arid  baby  and  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Carmichael  and  child,  and 
the  stage-driver,  all  in  the  boat.  It  sped  from  the  shore,  but  immediately 
commenced  careening  and  in  another  moment  capsized,  all  sinking  in  the 
water.  Mr.  Hook  was  too  much  alarmed  to  know  what  to  do,  but  Mr. 
Blair,  whose  presence  of  mind  is  proof  i  n  cases  of  danger,  with  his  brother, 
rushed  to  their  assistance;  snatching  a  long  stick  as  he  ran  to  aid  in  help- 
irg  them  to  shore.  While  Mr.  Blair  waded  in  to  reach  out  the  pole  to 
t!iem,  he  kept  hold  of  his  brother's  hand,  his  brother  holding  on  to  the 
bushes  in  the  water,  tor  the  current  was  so  swift  and  strong  that  it  would 
have  been  useless  to  venture  in  unaided.  With  great  difficulty  they  were 
Irawn  out,  Mr  Carmichael  reaching  the  stick  with  one  hand  and  holding 
:o  the  women  and  children  with  the  other.  Mrs.  Hook  was  unconscious 
when  brought  to  shore,  but  through  all  had  never  relaxed  her  bold  upon 
the  little  girl  who  was  clasped  tightly  in  her  mothers  arms  all  safe  and 
uninjured.  Mrs  Carmichael  and  child  were  brought  safe  to  shore.  Mr. 
Hook's  mother  and  the  stage-driver  were  drawn  by  the  strong,  rapid  cur- 
rent further  down  the  river,  and  it  was  not  without  courageous  efforts 
that  they  were  rescued,  while  Mr.  Hook  was  trying  to  restore  his  wife. 

The  little  one  was  Mrs.  Hook's  third  daughter,  who  married  William 
Livingstone  and  lived  near  Jacob  Doan's. 

Those  who  came  in  later  years,  to  whom  many  of  these  landmarks  are 
without  associations,  can  hardly  realize  how  much  they  suggest  to  the 
pioneer,  to  whom,  like  the  "Bells  of  Shandon,"  they  must  tell  "many  a 
tate"  of  '-youth  arid  hope"  and  the  departed  days. 


Mrs.  Clara  (Frisbee)  Davis,  widow  of  Josiah  M.  Davis,  related  some 
very  interesting  incidents  relative  to  her  early  life  here.  She  was  a  little 
gi'l  of  only  seven  years  at  that  time,  but  she  well  remembered  the  journey 
ard  her  father's  horses,  old  Tom  and  Jerry,  and  just  how  they  looked. 
Hjr  father,  Sylvester  Frisbee,  came  fromApulia,  New  York,  in  company 
w  th  Ransom  Barnes,  in  1838.  They  came  in  covered  wagons,  bringing 
what  goods  they  could  with  them,  Mr.  Frisbee  going  back  for  the  rest 
a.'terwards.  Little  Clara,  for  rest  and  amusement,  would  ride  a  part  of 
the  time  with  Mr.  Barnes  and  then  go  back  to  her  father's  wagon.  The 
loute  was  the  old  Chicago  road,  and  Mr.Tripp  kept  the  tavern  at  "Inlet." 
They  went  to  Hannurn's  hotel,  called  "The  Temperance  House."  When 

—  71  — 


people  who  ask  where  the  "bar"  was,  Mr.  Hannum  replied,  "that  there 
was  no  bar,  but  plenty  of  good  cold  water  and  tea  and  coffee."  Benoni 
Hannurn  was  a  most  excellent  and  useful  man,  always  ready  to  do  good 
as  he  had  opportunity,  and  he  found  many  opportunities.  He  was  a  true 
Christian  and  gifted  in  the  use  of  language,  consequently  he  was  called 
upon  to  lead  religious  services  at  funerals  and  on  other  occasions,  in  the 
absence  of  ministers.  He  had  previously  learned  the  cabinet  maker's 
trade  and  as  he  was  a  very  kind  man,  he  would  sometimes,  in  cases  of 
death,  make  the  coffin  and  take  all  the  charge  of  the  funeral. 

Of  Mrs.  Hannum,  whose  likeness  is  in  this  book,  Mrs.  Davis  said: 
"She  was  such  a  good  woman,  a  lovely  Christian  day  by  day,  alwa/s 
ready  to  do  good  and  lend  a  helping  hand  whenever  an  opportunity  pre- 
sented itself.  She  believed,  as  the  Lord  prospered  one,  in  laying  aside  a 
tenth  for  Him,  and  she  kept  a  purse  for  the  Lord's  money;  so,  wher, 
there  was  a  worthy  object  she  had  something  ready  to  give.  She  had 
learned  the  milliner's  trade  before  coming  here,  and  she  used  to  make 
over  and  trim  bonnets  for  women  and  girls  around  I  remember  so  well 
of  her  making  one  for  Mrs.  Dexter.  Mrs.  Hannum's  home  was  a  model 
of  neatness  and  comfort.  Once  inside  the  sod  or  "hay-house"  one  forgot 
its  humble  exterior.  Mr.  Edwin  M.  Blair  tells  of  the  comfort  and  good 
cheer  received  by  him  and  hisbrotber-in-law,  Mr.  Abbott,  on  one  occasiqn 
when  on  a  cold  return  trip  from  Grand  Detour  where  they  had  been  io 
mill.  It  was  very  early  in  the  morning  of  a  December  day,  but  so 
kindly  were  he  and  his  companion  provided  for  that  the  mention  of  tjie 
sod  house  or  "hay-house,"  of  Mr.  Hannum,  has  ever  since  awakened  a 
train  of  pleasant  recollections,  notwithstanding  the  trip  was  one  of  gr«at 
discomfort. 

Mr.  Hannum  died  in  1851.  The  next  year  Mrs.  Frisbee  died,  and  Uvo 
years  after  Mr.  Frisbee  married  Mrs.  Hannum.  Of  her  step-mother,  Mrs. 
Davis  said:  "I  always  felt  that  I  was  highly  favored  in  having  tjvo 
such  dear,  good  mothers.  I  was  a  great  mother  girl  and  my  mother  w|as 
a  very  affectionate,  devoted  mother,  so  amiable  and  sweet-tempered,  and 
a  sweet  singer,  too,  and  a  good  Christian;  and  rny  father  was  also." 

Dr.  Gardner  was  our  family  physician.  1  have  very  pleasant  recoll^c- 
tions  of  him  and  his  wife.  They  lived  three  miles  from  us,  but  with  tjie 
exception  of  one  family,  they  were  our  nearest  neighbors  for  a  long  tina'p. 
My  sister  and  I  were  delighted  when  Mrs.  Gardner  was  coming,  for  she 
was  such  a  dear,  sweet  lady,  and  her  babies  were  always  so  sweet  anj 
pretty,  we  had  great  pleasure  in  tending  them.  We  had  great  confldenct 
in  Dr.  Gardner,  who  carried  us  through  some  very  dangerous  illnesses;  and 

—  72  — 


MRS.   HANNUM-FRISBEE. 


CLARA   FRISBEE. 

( MBS.  JOSIAH  DAVIS.) 


he  was  a  Christian.    I  remember  hearing  my  father  say  it  was  worth  a 
tfre.it  deal  to  "have  a  physician  that  was  a  Christian." 

Miss  Clara  Frisbee  was  married  to  Josiah  M.  Davis,  son  of  Joel  Davis, 
in  1849,  Rev.  Luke  Hitchcock  performing  the  ceremony.  (Joel  Davis  was 
a  brother  of  Cyrus  Davis  and  of  Mrs.  Farwell.  He  earn e  west  in  1848.) 
Mr.  Joel  Davis  and  his  son  erected  a  frame  house  on  a  farm  just  west  of 
the  city  limits.  It  was  not  finished  during  Joel  Davis'  life  time,  as  he 
lived  but  a  short  time.  Josiah  went  to  California  and  was  gone  several 
years,  his  wife  remaining  with  his  friends  here  during  his  absence.  After 
his  return  he  finished  the  house  which  his  father  had  commenced,  with 
much  taste.  He  planted  trees,  shrubs  and  rose-bushes.  At  the  eastern 
entrance  of  the  grounds  was  a  broad  gate,  the  upper  part  surmounted  by 
a  real  bird-castle,  of  several  stories  height.  There  were  trees  at  each  side 
of  the  gate,  and  it  looked  so  hospitable  and  delightful  that  it  seemed  to 
speak  for  the  inmates  of  the  retreat  and  say,  as  it  gleamed  white  in  the 
shade  of  the  trees: 

"Stop,  traveler,  just  a  moment  at  my  gate 

And  I  will  give  you  news  so  very  «weet 

That  you  will  thank  me.    Where  the  branches  meet 
Across  your  road,  and  droop,  as  with  the  weight 

Of  shadows  laid  upon  them,  pause,  I  pray, 

And  turn  aside  a  little  from  your  way." 

-Once  inside  the  large  inclosure,  everything  told  of  rest  and  loving 
peace.  The  veranda  from  which  one  could  see  the  birds  flying  about 
their  houses— for  there  were  others  besides  the  one  over  the  great  gate- 
way—looked out  over  the  green  fields  with  waving  grain  or  corn;  and  an- 
other gate,  a  "wicket-gate,"  opened  to  the  road  which  passed  the  house  on 
the  west  from  the  Rocky  Ford  road  to  Union  Corners.  Mr.  Davis  named 
the  place  "Summer  Hill  Farm."  He  is  remembered  for  his  cheerful, 
sunny,  kind  nature  and  social  disposition;  and  when  in  early  manhood  he 
passed  away,  leaving  his  devoted  young  wife  and  twochildren,  there  were 
many  to  hold  him  in  affectionate  remembrance,  and  to  cherish  an  abiding 
interest  in  his  family. 

Mrs.  Davis  remained  at  Summer  Hill  Farm  until  the  best  interests  of 
herchildren  seemed  to  favorachange.  when  with  rare  judgement  and  gen- 
tle firmness  she  parted  with  her  "sweet  home, "and  went  toChicago,  where 
she  educated  them  to  nobly  fill  their  places  in  life.  Her  son,  Millard, 
has  a  family,  and  a  beautiful  home  of  his  own,  and  is  a  prosperous  mer- 
chant in  Chicago.  Her  daughter  Lizzie  married  Rev.  Mr.  Pears*1,  a  Con- 
gregationalist  minister  and  is  settled  in  Turner,  Illinois.  Mrs.  Davis 
made  her  home  with  Mrs.  Pearse,  and  was  deeply  interested  in  all  the 


f 


duties  which  devolve  upon  a  pastor's  family  up  to  the  time  of  her  sickness 
and  death,  which  occurred  the  last  of  April  this  present  year. 

Mr.  William  Main  now  owns  and  occupies  "Summer  Hill  Farm." 


Curtis  T.  Bridgernan  came  here  in  1838,  and  bought  a  claim  of  160 
acres  of  James  Hawley,  for  $700.  It  was  the  finest  piece  of  timber  in 
Palestine  Grove,  mostly  whi  te  and  burr-oak.  Mr.  B.  sold  $300  worth  for  the 
old  I.  C.  R.  R.,  which  was  projected  justaffcer  the  closeof  the  Black-Hawk 
war,  in  1833,  and  was  laid  out  and  partly  built  in  1837,  but  abandoned  in 
the  financial  revolution  of  1840.  The  line  is  yet  visible  west  of  Rocky 
Ford.  Mr.  Bridgeiuan's  claim  is  known  as  the  Blunt  farm,  although  now 
owned  by  William  E.  Ives.  It  was  the  favorite  camping  ground  of  the 
Indians,  with  its  large  trees  and  its  contiguity  to  Green  River.  Here, 
sometimes  hundreds  of  them  encamped,  led  by  their  chief,  Shabbona. 

Mr.  Bridgeman  lived  on  this  claim  five  years,  when  he  sold  it  and 
moved  to  Crombie  Lane,  and  took  up  160  acres  of  land,  now  the  farms  of 
Adam  Mynard  and  Hiram  Bates.  Part  of  the  building  Mr.  Bridgeman 
lived  in  is  standing  on  the  Bates  farm  and  is  used  as  a  corn-crib.  It  was 
eighteen  feet  long  and  ten  feet  wide.  This  was  their  sleeping  room.  On 
the  side  was  an  addition  made  mostly  of  sod. 

In  the  fall  of  1843,  the  weather  had  been  mild  and  balmy  as  the  "sun- 
ny south,"  and  no  precautions  had  been  taken  to  bank-up  the  house  which 
was  only  an  unfinished  frame  building.  One  evening  about  the  middle 
of  November  there  was  a  light  fall  of  snow.  In  the  morning  the  family 
awoke  to  find  the  snow  a  foot  deep  in  their  sod  kitchen,  and  it  had  to  be 
shoveled  out  before  they  could  get  breakfast.  From  this  time  until 
spring  the  ground  was  covered  with  snow  to  a  great  depth  and  there  were 
no  signs  of  spring  until  the  middle  of  April.  The  weather  was  bitterly 
cold  nearly  every  day  that  winter.  Mr.  Bridgeman  made  a  trip  to  Inlet 
Grove  and  got  out  timber  for  a  new  house  that  was  made  into  lumber  at 
Dewey's  Mill.  A  building  was  erected  which  was  considered  quite  a 
structure  for  those  days,  but  the  family  never  moved  into  it.  Mr.  Bridge- 
man sold  his  claim  to  David  Searles  and  moved  to  the  farm  now  owned 
and  occupied  by  Mr.  G.  P.  Finch.  That  was  the  suburb  of  the  settlement 
then.  All  beyond  was  unbroken  prairie  to  Rock  River. 

Mrs.  Bridgeman  was  a  lovely  woman,  and  highly  esteemed  in  the  com- 
munity. She  was  the  mother  of  our  townsman,  Mr.  Cyrus  Bridgeman. 
She  reared  a  family  whose  lives  are  an  honor  to  her. 


—  78 


Frederick  Bainter,  with  his  wife  and  one  child,  came  from  South 
Bend,  Indiana,  to  this  place  in  the  fall  of  1838.  In  the  spring  of  1839  he 
built  a  log  house  on  the  place  now  known  as  the  John  Warinck  farm, 
where  he  farmed  for  several  years,  and  then  turned  his  attention  to 
blacksmithing  and  making  plows,  erecting  a  blacksmith  shop  on  his  farm. 
In  the  spring  of  1846  the  house  burned  down,  and  he  moved  to  the  little 
burg  of  Binghampton,  where  he,  with  James  Doan,  built  up  quite  an  in- 
dustry at  the  stand  now  known  as  Kreiter's  Mills.  Many  of  the  people 
will  remember  the  improvements  there  made  in  the  old  style  plow  which 
he  furnished  to  a  great  many  farmers  of  Lee,  Bureau,  La  Salleand  other 
counties.  It  was  at  their  home  that  Death  made  the  first  call  in  this 
neighborhood,  taking  their  sweet  baby  boy  Franklin.  After  a  number  of 
years  they  moved  to  Goshen,  Ind.,  and  later,  to  California,  where  Mr. 
Bainter  died  in  1875.  His  wife,  who  was  always  his  helper  and  adviser, 
with  the  remainder  of  her  family,  are  still  spending  their  days  in  that 
most  noted  of  beautiful  countries. 

V 

Mr.  Cyrus  Davis  came  here  in  1839  from  Newlpswich,  N.  H.  On  Jan- 
uary 30th,  1823,  he  married  Miss  Mary  Appleton,  of  Dublin,  N.  H.,  fifth 
child  of  Isaac  and  Sarah  (Twitchell)  Appleton.  Mr.  Joseph  Appleton, 
who  was  one  of  the  early  settlers  here,  was  the  oldest  child  of  her  brother 
Joseph.  Mr.  Davis  was  a  brother  of  Mrs.  Farwell.  His  farm  was  upon 
the  site  which  is  now  a  part  of  the  city  of  Amboy,  and  was  bounded  on 
the  north  by  the  road  now  running  past  "the  Hawk's  house,"  now  owned 
by  William  Armour,  and  past  Mr.  Rush  Badger's;  on  the  east,  by  the 
creek  crossing  Main  street,  1-y  Wm.  E.  Ives  and  south  by  Division  street. 
His  log  house  was  a  few  feet  east  of  the  Baptist  Church  on  Mason  street, 
in  what  is  now  the  middle  of  the  street.  His  barn  was  where  the  Baptist 
Church  stands,  and  his  orchard  just  north. 

A  little  anecdote  is  told  of  Mr.  Davis'  attempt  to  mark  where  the 
regular  road  ought  to  be.  He  plowed  a  few  furrows  for  the  line  of  the 
road.  The  next  morning  as  he  "viewed  the  landscape  o'er"  he  looked  in 
vain  for  his  turnpike.  Some  of  the  roguish  young  men  had  carefully 
turned  all  the  sod  back  in  place.  Mr.  Davis  stood  and  looked  at  the  joke 
n  few  minutes  and  walked  silently  away. 

In  1845  he  built  a  convenient  frame  house,  the  first  of  the  kind  in  the 
place.  It  is  one  of  the  "old  landmarks"  and  is  among  the  illustrations. 
After  the  streets  of  Amboy  were  laid  out,  it' was  moved  a  few  rods  east 
and  now  stands  directlv  opposite  the  Baptist  Church.  The  little  child 
sitting  on  the  door  step  in  the  picture  is  a  grandson  of  Col.  John.  B.  Wyman. 

—  81  — 


TBe 


CHESTER  S.  BADGER  first  came  to  the  country  from  Broome 
County,  New  York,  in  1837,  stopping  in  Joliet,  Illinois.  In  the  fall 
of  the  same  year  he  returned  to  Chemung  County.  New  York,  and 
in  the  spring  of  1838  he  came  back  to  Illinois,  accompanied  by  his  son 
Simon;  and  in  the  spring  of  1839  Warren  came  wibh  mother  and  two  sis- 
ters, Sarah  and  Rowena.  They  came  by  the  Lakes  through  Chicago  to 
Lee  County  and  "landed  on  the  site"  now  occupied  by  his  grandson,  Duer 
Badger. 

In  1840,  Chester,  son  of  Chester  S.,  then  but  eighteen  years  old,  drove 
a  team  from  Broome  County,  New  York,  through  to  this  place,  where  he 
found  parents,  brothers  and  sisters.  The  meeting,  though  joyous,  was 
not  without  sadness.  There  was  such  a  contrast  between  the  pleasant 
home  and  the  social  life  which  they  had  left,  and  the  pioneer  life  with 
its  privations  and  hardships  to  which  they  had  come,  that  even  after  all 
the  years  which  have  intervened  it  seems  painful  to  Mr.  Badger  to  recall 
the  meeting. 

The  house  was  a  small,  story  and  a  half  frame  house,  without  lath  or 
plaster.  It  had  warped  and  shrunk  so  that  although  the  family  covered 
interstices  the  best  they  could,  the  northwest  winds  would  drive  in  the 
snow  until  it  not  only  covered  the  floor  but  the  beds  also.  In  coldest 
weather,  to  use  Mr.  Badger's  own  words,  "We  used  to  hang  up  three  bed- 
blankets,  or  quilts  around  the  fire  and  enjoy  ourselves  sitting  inside  and 
eating  crab-apples,  as  we  had  no  other  kind  of  fruit."  For  our  fencing, 
we  drew  logs  a  distance  of  three  miles  and  split  them  into  rails  and  then 
made  fence.  The  Pottawattomie  Indians,  of  whom  Shabbona  was  their 
chief,  roamed  at  will  through  here  and  encamped  near  Green  River. 
Game  was  plentiful.  I  have  seen  forty  deer  going  to  drink  in  the  creek. 
More  rabbits  than  a  strong  man  could  carry  away  could  be  taken  in  a 
short  time  and  but  a  short  distance  from  home;  and  fish  also,  could  be 
caught  vin  abundance,  each  weighing  from  four  pounds  to  some  times 
much  heavier  weight." 

—  82  — 


BADGER'S   MILL, 


In  1837  a  man  from  New  Jersey  by  name  of  Erastus  De  Wolfe,  an 
Episcopalian  minister,  came  into  the  country.  He  lived  about  half  way 
between  here  and  Dixon,  on  land  now  known  as  the  De  Wolfe  farm,  and 
preached  in  the  Wasson  school  house.  Mrs.  De  Wolfe  organized  a  Sun- 
day School,  commencing  with  six  little  girls,  two  of  her  own,  two  of  Mrs. 
Wasson's,  and  two  of  Mrs.  Badger's.  This  was  in  1845. 

Sarah  Badger,  the  older  sister,  taught  school  in  Sugar  Grove  at  $1.50 
per  week  and  had  luxuries—  pumpkin  pie  and  crab  apple  sauce.  Rowena 
taught  in  the  old  log  school  house,  and  afterwards  near  Mr.  De  Wolfe's 
place,  and  also  near  Grand  Detour. 

The  Badger  family  have  been  useful  members  of  society.  Mrs.  Bad- 
ger is  remembered  with  respect  and  love.  She  was  a  quiet,  retiring 
woman  of  much  refinement,  and  her  sons  and  daughters  have  filled  many 
places  of  usefulness  in  Amboy.  Her  daughters  were  among  the  earliest 
teachers,  and  her  sons,  Henry,  Simon,  Chester  and  Warren,  have  all  con- 
tributed to  Amboy's  prosperity.  The  brothers  engaged  in  the  manufac- 
ture of  plows  and  also  built  a  mill,  afterwards  rebuilding  it  into  a  steam 
mill.  Warren  died  in  the  prime  of  life,  Simon  in  1876,  leaving  one  son, 
Mr.  Rush  Badger,  and  three  daughters.  He  filled  various  offices  of  trust 
in  the  town,  having  been  justice  of  the  peace  sixteen  years  previous  to 
his  death.  Chester  enlisted  in  the  Eleventh  Illinois  Volunteers,  and 
served  in  the  Mexican  war  under  Gen.  Sterling  Price.  He  afterwards 
went  overland  to  California  in  company  with  his  brother  Simon.  He  has 
been  a  prominent  man  here,  serving  the  town  in  many  ways.  He  can 
remember  numberless  interesting  events  connected  with  the  county 
which  would  have  been  worthy  of  record.  He  lives  in  retirement  on  his 
farm,  which  has  been  his  home  since  first  coming  to  this  country  in  1840. 
He  has  three  children. 

Henry  E.  Badger  was  one  of  the  early  teachers  here.  He  was.  with 
his  brothers,  engaged  in  the  manufacture  of  plows,  and  also  in  the  mill 
known  as  the  Badger  Mill;  has  been  supervisor,  road  commissioner, 
school  trustee,  postmaster,  merchant  and  farmer.  During  the  war  he  was 
most  loyal,  giving  liberally  to  the  Union  cause.  No  soldier's  widow  or 
family  who  applied  to  him  for  aid  was  ever  sent  away  unsupplied.  No 
one  has  given  more  generously  to  support  every  good  cause.  His  life  has 
been  embellished  by  a  most  excellent  wife,  who  has  filled  her  place  at 
home,  in  church  and  in  society  with  a  devotion  to  be  remembered  grate- 
fully by  many  long  after  she  can  fill  it  no  more.  Mr.  Badger  has  two 
daughters  and  one  son  living,  Mr.  Warren  Badger,  a  prominent  merchant 
here. 

-  85  - 


John  Hook  and  wife,  Mrs.  Matilda  (Berry)  Hook,  came  to  Eocky  Ford 
in  the  fall  of  1839.  They  were  natives  of  Howland,  Maine,  a  town  on  the 
JPenobscot  River.  They  came  in  covered  wagons,  each  drawn  by  two 
horses,  Mr.  Berry,  a  brother  of  Mrs.  Hook,  and  others  accompanying  them. 

After  reaching  Buffalo,  New  York,  and  learning  that  travellers 
through  Ohio  encountered  many  marshy  and  difficult  places  of  crossing, 
they  took  passage  to  Detroit  on  the  steamer  Milwaukee,  and  from  there 
pursued  their  journey  with  wagons  to  Peru,  where  they  resided  until  they 
came  here. 

Mrs.  Hook's  narrative  of  the  incidents  of  their  trip  is  intensely  inter- 
esting. Many  were  the  kindnesses  they  received  on  the  way,  when  they 
encamped  near  settlements  and  farm  houses;  many  the  invitations  to  rest 
and  lodge  under  some  one's  roof-tree,  while  additions  to  their  store  of 
food  were  smilingly  given.  To  hear  her  recount  the  story  of  her  life  in 
her  cheerful  and  pleasant  way,  one  would  think  that  "  the  hardships  of 
pioneer  life"  were  but  a  series  of  pleasure  excursions  and  encampments 
for  the  sake  of  the  enjoyment  of  them.  It  would  be  hardly  safe  to  have 
the  story  in  her  own  words,  even  were  it  possible  to  remember  them, 
least  some  young  readers  might  be  missing  some  day,  to  be  found  as 
young  Daniel  Boone  was  surprised  by  his  father— trying  pioneer  life  on 
his  own  hook— somewhere  beyond  the  Rockies. 

Her  house  at  Rocky  Ford  was  for  years  an  Inn,  where  the  weary  might 
find  rest  and  the  hungry,  food,  although  it  bore  no  sign.  As  stated  above, 
it  was  the  mail  carrier's  stopping  place  on  his  route  from  Galena  to 
Peoria,  afterwards  changed  to  Peru.  Travelers  would  seek  lodging  for 
the  night  inside  their  hospitable  doors  to  be  safe  from  the  wolves,  and 
they  were  not  turned  away,  though  a  place  on  the  floor  were  the  only 
vacancy. 

Men  whose  names,  in  after  years  were  widely  known  have  been  served 
here,  and  Knowlton  and  Frazier  on  their  passing  from  Dixon  to  Peoria 
or  returning,  were  frequent  lodgers,  and  often  Sheriff  Campbell  was  their 
guest.  Here  young  Backensto  alighted  and  made  his  toilet  when 
first  he  visited  Amboy  to  present  himself  before  the  queen  of  his 
heart,  Miss  Clara  Wasson,  whom  he  had  met  at  the  house  of  her  aunt 
Mrs.  Joseph  Smith  of  Nauvoo. 

Our  illustration  of  the  bridge  at  Rocky  Ford  marks  the  place  near 
which  the  Indian  trail  from  Council  Bluffs  to  Chicago  crossed  the  ford; 
and  in  the  time  of  the  Black  Hawk  war,  the  command  under  Major  Still- 
man  forded  the  stream  at  this  point  on  their  way  to  Stillman's  Run. 


H.    E.    BADGER. 


MRS.   H.   E.    BADGER. 


In  1842  it  was  the  mail  route,  and  the  carrier  made  the  trip  every  week 
on  horse  back  without  failure  stopping  at  John  Hook's  Monday  nights  as 
he  went  north,  and  Friday  nights  going  south.  A  few  years  afterwards 
the  post  office  was  removed  to  Binghampton. 

The  site  on  the  ridge  where  Mr.  Hook  built  his  house,  was  on  an  old 
Indian  camping  ground  on  the  trail  which  crossed  at  the  ford.  The 
Indians  came  frequently  and  in  large  numbers,  on  their  way  to  and  from 
Chicago  to  receive  their  annuities.  When  they  found  their  old  camping- 
ground  occupied  they  withdrew  to  the  wooded  knoll  south  of  the  place 
owned  by  Mr.  Bear,  and  east  of  Mr.  Edwin  Bliss.  Mrs.  Hook  relates  how 
the  Indians  rode  up  on  horse  back  and  surveyed  their  old  place  of  en- 
campment, and  finding  it  occupied,  rode  away,  and  selected  the  site 
already  described.  They  would  frequently  remain  for  a  month,  hunting 
and  fishing;  for  deer,  prairie-chickens,  rabbits,  etc.  were  abundant. 

Before  breaking  camp  to  pursue  their  journey,  they  would  prepare  for 
it  by  roasting  pieces  of  venison  which  they  would  put  on  the  point  of  a 
stick,  and  keep  it  over  the  fire  by  confining  the  other  end  of  the  stick 
slantwise  in  the  ground.  After  it  was  broiled  and  smoked  in  this  way,  it 
was  packed  for  the  journey.  They  appeared  to  enjoy  a  call  from  their 
white  neighbors.  Once  when  Mrs.  Hook  went  to  call  on  them  in  their 
tents,  a  pleasant  young  half-breed  Indian,  whose  father  was  a  French- 
man, of  Milwaukee,  where  the  young  man  and  his  brother  who  was  with 
him  had  been  educated,  begged  to  take  her  fair  haired,  blue  eyed  baby  to 
show  to  his  people  in  the  tents,  promising  to  return  it  soon  in  safety. 
This  was  the  first  trip  the  young  men  had  ever  taken  with  their  mother's 
people,  and  the  parents  were  both  with  the  company.  The  little  one  was 
not  afraid  and  the  young  man  carried  it  tenderly  to  the  other  tents  where 
the  women  patted  the  baby's  arms  and  cheeks  and  smiled  upon  it,  as  did 
the  young  man.  He  soon  brought  it  back,  pleasantly,  the  baby  enjoying 
it  all.  His  father's  name  was  Juneau.  His  mother  was  a  famous  medi- 
cine squaw  and  used  to  be  called  to  go  twenty  miles  to  cure  the  sick. 

Mrs.  Hook  used  sometimes  to  carry  them  presents  of  milk  and  other 
food,  taking  a  pail  of  milk  and  a  dipper  and  so  treating  the  Indian  chil- 
dren all  around.  In  return  the  mothers  would  treat  with  berries,  or  a  drink 
made  of  maple  sugar  which  they  had  made  mixed  with  fresh  water  from 
the  creek.  They  were  frequent  callers  at  Mrs.  Hook's  house  where  they 
received  such  favors  as  she  could  render  them.  Once  as  she  was  sitting 
at  home,  a  shadow  darkened  the  room,  and  on  looking  up  she  saw  a  tall 
Indian  standing  in  the  door,  attracted  there  by  the  odor  of  something 
which  was  being  cooked.  He  entered  and  raised  the  cover  of  the  kettle, 

—  91  — 


asking  many  questions  about  it.  It  was  a  turtle  from  which  they  were 
extracting  the  oil,  and  when  told  that  it  was  for  medicinal  purposes,  he 
was  much  interested.  The  Indians  gathered  many  herbs,  and  roots 
which  they  washed  and  put  up  carefully  to  take  away  with  them.  Once, 
when  two  or  three  Indians  called  and  asked  for  something  to  eat,  Mrs. 
Hook  sent  out  to  them  by  her  husband,  bread,  meat,  etc.,  on  separate 
plates  for  each,  with  knives  and  forks,  just  te  see  how  they  would  use 
them.  They  good-naturedly  laid  them  aside  and  taking  the  meat  in  their 
fingers  and  saying,  "this  is  the  way  Indian  eat"  they  ate  it  in  their  own 
way. 

Mr.  Hook's  family  had  been  accustomed  to  Indians,  for  on  the  Penob- 
scot  River  in  Maine  there  have  always  been  many  of  them;  some  beau- 
tiful specimens  of  their  work  in  baskets  and  moccasins  finding  the  way 
around  the  country,  and  often  being  for  sale.  Mrs.  Hook  seems  to  have 
had  an  unusually  happy  faculty  in  dealing  with  them.  If  some  cf  our 
Indian  agents  <m  the  frontier  might  learn  something  from  her,  it  would 
be  a  happy  thing  for  both  Uncle  Sam's  red  and  white  children. 


The  first  school-house  was  built  in  1839.  It  was  a  log  house  not  far 
from  where  Seneca  Strickland  now  lives.  Mrs.  Strickland,  daughter  of 
Andrew  Bainter,  remembers  the  log  threshold  over  which  she  climbed 
when  she  ran  away  to  school  at  the  age  of  two  or  three  years.  This 
school-house  had  three  windows,  with  twelve  panes  of  glass  in  each,  six 
by  eight  inches,  and  they  were  put  in  sidewise.  Long  benches  were 
placed  on  three  sides,  with  a  broad  board  back  of  them,  fastened  to  the 
wall  by  a  support  from  the  under  side,  which  served  as  desks  for  the 
children  to  lay  their  books  on,  as  well  as  to  write  upon.  Near  the  long, 
high  benches  were  two  or  three  smaller  ones  for  the  youngest  children. 
Here  they  sat,  holding  their  books  in  their  hands  while  they  spelled  b-a, 
ba;  c-a,  ca;  d-a,  da;  etc.  A  blackboard  was  unknown  to  these  little  pio- 
neers, neither  were  there  maps  or  charts;  only  the  rough,  dark  logs  and 
the  small,  low  windows;  yet  they  were  happy  and  faithful,  and  to  obey 
the  teacher  was  one  rule  seldom  broken.  One  of  the  first  lessons  the  new 
teacher  always  gave  to  all,  both  large  and  small,  was  the  first  part  of  the 
spelling-book.  To  the  small  ones  the  great  puzzle  was  to  tell  diphthongs 
and  triphthongs,  interrogations  and  exclamations;  but  if  they  could  close 
the  book  and  say  the  words,  all  was  well.  The  teachers,  in  those  days, 
were  thorough;  for  example,  there  were  two  little  girls  not  five  years  old, 
who  had  to  stand  on  the  floor  and  study  their  lessons  because  they  had 
misspelled  "chintz"  and  "stiltz,"  almost  breaking  their  hearts. 

—  92  — 


CLARA  WASSON. 

(  MBS.  BACKENSTO.) 


The  first  teacher  was  Miss  Clara  Wasson,  greatly  beloved  by  her  pu- 
pils. Here  afterwards  taught  Miss  Lucy  Ann  Church,  Charlotte  Doan, 
the  Misses  Badger  and  Wasson,  Ann  Chadwick,  and  "a  long  line  of  dis- 
tinguished" teachers  whose  names  we  have  not  been  able  to  obtain.  Miss 
Clara  Wasson,  now  Mrs.  Backensto,  writes,  "I  now  remember  my  little 
school  with  great  pleasure.  Although  quite  inexperienced  myself,  the 
dear  little  people  thought  me  a  perfect  teacher,  which  shows  how  inex- 
perienced the  most  of  them  were,  having  never  attended  school  before. 
They  were  so  quiet  and  obedient  that  the  little  ground  squirrels  would 
come  into  the  school-room  to  eat  the  scattered  crumbs." 

Mrs.  Backensto  relates  another  incident.  "Just  after  the  Dexter  chil- 
dren had  started  home  from  school  they  came  running  back  to  rne  saying 
that  Thomas  had  been  bitten  by  a  rattlesnake.  We  soon  found  the  snake 
and  with  a  long  switch  whipped  it  to  death,  as  this  is  the  surest  and 
easiest  way  to  dispose  of  those  venomous  reptiles.  Andrew  Bainter  tied 
his  whip-lash  tightly  around  the  leg,  just  above  the  wound.  I  soon  found 
some  Seneca  snake  root,  and  gathering  a  qnantity,  bruised  some  between 
two  stones  and  bound  it  with  my  handkerchief  on  to  the  wounded  foot 
and  took  him,  with  a  quantity  of  the  snake-root,  home  to  his  mother,  in- 
structing her  to  steep  some  of  it  in  milk  and  give  him  to  drink,  and  to 
bind  some  fresh  root  on  the  wound,  which  she  did;  and  much  to  my  sur- 
prise and  satisfaction  the  next  morning  he  came  to  school  just  a  little 
lame,  and  soon  recovered  entirely.  What  a  blessed  Providence  to  provide 
an  antidote  for  that  deadly  poison  within  our  reach;  and  thanks  to  my 
mother's  instructions,  I  knew  just  what  to  do  " 

There  must  be  many  interesting  reminiscences  connected  with  this 
school-house  were  there  time  and  opportunity  to  collect  them  from  those 
who  participated  in  them.  Later,  when  the  larger* log  school-house  was 
built  between  Col.  Badger's  and  Mr.  Wasson's,  the  old  log  house  was 
moved  farther  east,  near  to  the  Lewis  farm,  and  the  new  school-house 
was  the  usual  place  for  preaching;  but  for  some  years  it  remained  where 
it  was  first  located  and  was  the  place  for  religious  services  as  well  as 
spelling-schools,  singing-school,  etc.  Previous  to  the  building  of  this,  in 
the  winter  of  1837-8,  religious  services  were  held  in  the  cabins.  We  hear 
of  a  Mr.  Vincent,  a  relative  of  the  eminent  eastern  divine,  Rev.  Dr.  Vin- 
cent, preaching  at  Mr.  Briclgeman's  cabin.  Messrs.  Lumery,  Smith,  Gor- 
bitt,  White  and  others  at  the  Doan  and  other  cabins.  Mr.  Stinson  and 
other  lay  preackers  and  Rev.  Erastus  De  Wolfe  at  the  Dexter  cabin;  also 
at  Mr.  Benjamin  Wasson's.  The  meetings  were  often  on  week  days,  the 
men  leaving  their  labor  to  worship  at  this  Shekinah  in  the  wilderness; 

—  95  — 


coming  in  their  carts  or  wagons,  drawn  by  oxen  or  horses;  often  following 
the  Indian  trails  through  thickets  of  wild  fruit  trees  and  groves  of  oak, 
all  converging  toward  the  creek  and  vicinity  of  the  old  encampments. 

Rev.  Mr.  Farney  preached  the  first  sermon  in  the  old  log  school-house; 
afterwards,  Revs.  Luke  Hitchcock,  John  Cross,  Charles  Gardner  and 
others  supplied.  At  one  of  Mr.  Gardner's  meetings  he  had  for  an  auditor 
Joseph  Smith,  the  founder  of  Mormonism.  Mr.  Gardner  invited  him  to 
close  the  services  with  prayer,  which  he  did.  He  and  Sidney  Rigdon 
held  meetings  there,  afterwards,  and  Smith  had  followers  here  who  speak 
of  him  now  with  a  look  of  reverence  and  sorrow  as  "The  Martyred  Proph- 
et." They  have  always  been  good  and  upright  members  of  the  community, 
cherishing  no  sympathy  with  Brigham  Young,  whom  they  consider  as 
one  who  "defied  the  laws  of  God  and  man." 

The  old  school-nouse  was  of  use  to  all  in  the  settlement.  Some  of  the 
stories  told  of  the  spelling-schools  held  there  are  most  amusing.  Old  and 
young  attended,  and  one  bright  little  girl  of  six  years,  who  was  a  good 
speller,  so  interested  Simon  Badger  that  he  managed  to  keep  near  enough 
behind  her  to  whisper  assistance  when  a  particularly  "hard  word"  came 
to  her.  Once  when  she  was  chosen  on  the  other  side  she  went  with  anx- 
iety at  the  loss  of  her  gallant  assistant,  but  it  was  not  long  before  he  had 
changed  seats  and  she  found  he  was  at  hand. 


Emma  Hale,  the  sister  of  Elizabeth  Wasson,  was  born  in  the  town  of 
Harmony,  Susquehanna  county,  Pennsylvania,  July  10,  1804.  Her  par- 
ents, Mr.  Isaac  and  Mrs.  Elizabeth  (Lewis)  Hale,  were  pioneers  of  a  self- 
reliant  race,  brave,  honest,  of  unshaken  fidelity  and  unquestioned  integ- 
rity. She  grew  to  womanhood  amid  the  rural  scenes,  labors  and  recrea- 
tions incident  to  farm  life  on  the  banks  of  the  Susquehanna  River.  She 
was  a  good  horse-woman,  and  a  canoe  on  the  river  was  her  plaything. 
She  was  a  fair  scholar  for  the  common  schools  of  the  time,  and  a  good 
singer  and  possessed  of  a  fine  voice.  She  was  of  excellent  form,  straight 
and  above  medium  height,  features  strongly  marked,  hair  and  eyes  brown, 
while  her  general  intelligence  and  fearless  integrity,  united  with  her 
kindness  of  heart  and  splendid  physical  developments  commanded  both 
admiration  and  respect. 

In  1825  Miss  Hale  became  acquainted  with  Joseph  Smith,  celebrated 
in  the  history  of  the  religions  of  the  United  States,  as  the  founder  of 
"Mormonism,"  "The  Church  of  Jesus  Christ  of  Latter  Day  Saints,"  to 
whom  she  was  married  in  the  town  of  South  Bainbridge,  New  York,  at 
the  residence  of  'Squire  Tarbell,  January  18,  1827.  Mrs.  Smith  lived  in 

—  96  — 


the  family  of  her  husband's  parents,  at  Manchester,  New  York,  until 
December,  when  they  moved  to  Harmony,  Pennsylvania,  and  settled  near 
her  father's  farm. 

In  September  of  this  year,  Mr.  Smith  became  possessed  of  the  plates 
from  which  he  is  said  to  have  written  the  ''Book  of  Mormon."  These 
plates  Mr.  Smith  bad  during  their  residence  in  their  home  near  Isaac 
Hale,  and  of  them  Mrs.  Smith  states: 

•'I  knew  that  he  had  them.  1  made  a  linen  sack  for  Mr.  Smith  to 
carry  them  in.  They  lay  on  a  stand  in  my  room,  day  after  day,  for  weeks 
at  a  time,  and  I  often  moved  them  in  cleaning  the  room  and  dusting  the 
table.  They  were  of  metal,  and  when  thumbed,  as  onesometimes  thumbs 
the  leaves  of  a  book,  would  give  off  a  metallic  sound." 

A  gentleman,  now  a  resident  of  A  in  boy,  who  was,  three  or  four  years 
ago  in  business  in  Binghampton,  New  York,  gives  an  interesting  account 
of  a  visit  which  he  made  while  there  to  Harmony  township,  Pennsylva- 
nia, where  the  plates  were  said,  by  Mr.  Smith  to  have  been  found.  The 
historic  spot  is  on  the  summit  of  a  high  hill  not  far  from  the  Susque- 
hanna  river,  and  is  still  visited  as  a  place  of  interest.  The  stones  which 
formed  the  foundations  of  the  derrick  used,  still  surround  the  deep  exca- 
vation, which,  although  partially  filled,  by  the  caving  in  of  the  earth,  is 
some  eighty-five  feet  deep.  A  Mr.  Benson,  whose  farm  joins  the  land 
once  owned  by  Isaac  Hale,  Mrs.  Smith's  father,  and  who  was  familiar 
with  the  early  history  of  both  the  Hale  and  Smith  families,  was  the 
guide  and  instructor  of  our  informant.  Smith  was  about  a  year  in  reach- 
ing the  depth  of  a  hundred  or  more  feet,  where  he  claimed  the  Angel 
Meroni  had  made  known  to  him  the  plates  were  to  be  found.  He,  with 
some  of  his  friends,  would  work  at  the  place  nntil  the  money  gave  out, 
when  the  work  must  wait  until  more  means  to  carry  it  on  were  obtained. 
One  enthusiastic  follower  spent  his  farm  and  beggared  himself  in  the 
search  for  the  hidden  treasure.  Some  people  thought  Smith  insane,  but 
his  preaching  drew  to  him  crowds  of  followers. 

In  February,  1829,  Mrs.  Smith  became  an  amanuensis  to  her  husband, 
and  from  his  dictation  she  wrote  much  of  the  celebrated  Book  of  Mor- 
mon; and  in  this  year  it  was  completed  and  published  in  Palmyra,  New 
York,  by  E.  B.  Grandin.  It  was  i:i  this  year  that  Oliver  Cowdery  joined 
his  fortune  and  influence  with  the  new  religious  movement  begun  by 
Joseph  Smith. 

The  persecutions  which  followed  now  compelled  a  removal  from  Har- 
mony, and  in  August,  1830,  the  family  moved  to  Fayette*  Seneca  county, 
New  York.  From  there,  in  January,  1831,  they  went  to  Kirtland,  Ohio, 

—  97  — 


where  Newel  K.  Whitney,  one  of  the  leading  men  in  the  Mormon  society, 
befriended  them.  The  sickness  incidental  to  a  new  country  prevailed, 
and  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Smith  having  lost  their  flrst  child,  adopted  a  little  boy 
and  girl,  twin  children  of  Mrs.  John  Murdock,  who  died,  the  father  con- 
senting. September,  1831,  they  moved  to  Hiram,  Portage  county,  Ohio, 
thirty-five  miles  south-east  of  Kirtland.  The  converts  to  Mr.  Smith's 
preaching  were  constantly  arriving  from  all  parts  of  the  country,  greatly 
to  the  disturbance  of  antagonists  to  the  Mormon  religion,  and  in  March, 
1832,  the  most  violent  persecution  followed.  Mr  Smith  was  dragged  from 
his  bed,  beaten  into  insensibility,  tarred  and  feathered  and  left  for  dead. 
A  strange  part  of  this  experience  was,  that  his  spirit  seemed  to  leave  his 
body,  and  that  during  the  period  of  insensibility  he  consciously  stood 
over  his  own  body,  feeling  no  pain,  but  seeing  and  hearing  all  that  trans- 
pi  red. 

When,  after  returning  to  consciousness,  he  managed  to  drag  himself 
back  to  his  home,  Mrs.  Smith  fainted  at  the  sight;  and  the  little  adopted 
boy,  who  took  cold  on  that  fearful  night,  died  the  next  week.  It  was  a 
long  time  before  Mrs.  Smith  recovered  from  the  shock  of  all  these  accu- 
mulated sorrows.  The  same  night  Sidney  Rigdon  was  subjected  to  the 
same  treatment. 

He  now  started  on  a  mission  to  Missouri,  Mrs.  Smith  returning  to 
Kirtland  and  stopping  with  her  friends,  the  Whitneys.  It  is  here  that 
Joseph  Smith,  now  of  Lamoni,  Decatur  county,  Iowa,  was  born,  Novem- 
ber 6,  1832. 

In  April,  1838,  the  family  moved  to  Missouri,  in  Caldwell  county.  Here 
Mrs.  Smith  hoped  for  the  quietude  and  peace  for  which  she  longed,  but 
great  numbers  of  converts  flocked  to  their  leader.  The  people  became 
alarmed  and  violent  persecutions  which  it  is  useless  and  painful  to  de- 
tail followed.  Accusations  of  every  kind  were  made,  and  the  extermina- 
tion of  the  Mormons  seemed  to  be  determined  upon.  The  leaders,  Joseph 
and  his  brother  Hiram  Smith  and  others  were  imprisoned,  and  a  sum- 
mary death  from  shooting  was  expected  by  them.  Mrs.  Smith  was  now 
left  with  her  family  of  four  children;  her  adopted  daughter,  her  three 
sons,  the  oldest  six  years  old,  the  youngest  five  months,  at  the  beginning 
of  winter,  her  husband  in  jail  for  his  religion's  sake,  powerless  to  help 
him.  What  could  she  do?  She  bravely  visited  her  husband  in  the  jail, 
taking  her  oldest  son  with  her,  and  while  she  was  permitted  but  a  short 
interview,  she  obtained  permission  to  leave  the  child  a  guest  of  his  man- 
acled and  fettered  father,  until  the  next  day. 

After  making  such  arrangements  for  the  safety  of  herself  and  child- 

—  98  — 


ren  as  she  could,  Mrs.  Smith  left  the  home  from  which  she  had  been 
driven,  and  turned  her  steps  toward  Illinois.  The  winter  shut  in  early, 
and  when  the  fleeing  pilgrims  reached  the  Mississippi  River  it  was  frozen 
over  and  Mrs.  Smith,  weary,  sad  and  heart-broken,  crossed  the  mighty 
river  to  Quincy,  Illinois,  on  foot,  carrying  her  two  youngest  children, 
with  the  oldest  boy  and  little  girl  clinging  to  her  dress.  She  found  a  hos- 
pitable welcome  at  the  home  of  a  family  by  the  name  of  Cleveland,  where 
she  remained  during  the  long  winter,  sad,  but  trusting,  and  in  faithful 
expectancy,  waiting  for  her  husband's  relief  and  delivery  from  bonds. 
When,  at  last,  he  was  free,  she  welcomed  him  with  a  wife's  rapture,  and 
was  ready  to  begin  again  the  life  of  devotion  to  his  happiness  as  she  had 
ever  been. 

The  little  town  of  Commerce,  in  Hancock  county,  Illinois,  at  the 
head  of  the  Lower  Rapids,  had  been  chosen  for  a  resting  place  for  the 
refugees,  and  the  family  reached  it  on  May  tenth.  A  celebrated  river 
pilot,  by  the  name  of  Hugh  White,  owned  a  farm  on  which  was  a  hewed 
log  house  with  a  clap-board  annex,  which  Mr.  Smith  bought,  and  into 
which  he  moved  his  family.  Yet,  even  here,  Mrs.  Smith  knew  not  what 
awaited  her.  All  her  married  life  had  been  such  as  to  call  forth  the 
strongest  courage  and  fortitude  and  faith  of  her  soul,  and  in  none  of  them 
had  she  faltered.  What  she  had  and  what  she  was,  she  had  placed  on  the 
altar  of  her  devotions;  and  if  God  willed,  she  was  content. 

The  seasons  of  1839-40,  were  seasons  of  severe  trials  to  the  new  settle- 
meats.  Fever  incident  to  the  new  countries,  the  long  exposure  and  cry- 
ing want  endured  by  many  in  their  forced  exodus  from  Missouri,  the  fogs 
from  the  river  and  miasma  from  the  swamps — all  combined  to  make  the 
season  sickly,  and  hundreds  became  victims,  many  of  whom  died.  Mrs. 
Smith  realizing  the  weight  of  the  general  burden  and  the  necessity  of 
proper  nursing  of  the  stricken  people,  opened  her  house  for  hospital  ser- 
vice. Numbers  of  the  severe  cases  were  removed  to  her  home  and  placed 
under  her  care.  She,  with  her  family  of  children,  took  shelter  in  a  tent 
in  the  dooryard,  she,  and  her  children  under  her  direction,  doing  all  that 
they  could  to  minister  to  the  suffering.  At  one  time  she  had  ten  of  these 
unfortunate  people  in  her  care,  herself  and  oldest  son  being  the  only 
nurses  that  were  available,  the  boy  doing  little  except  to  carry  water 
from  the  spring  near  the  river's  brink  to  quench  the  thirst  and  lave  the 
hands  and  faces  of  the  fever  tried  souls. 

During  a  great  portion  of  this  trying  time,  Mrs.  Smith's  husband  was 
at  Washington,  D.  C.,  seeking  to  secure  the  intervention  of  the  General 
Government,  to  obtain  an  official  and  final  examination  of  the  difficulties 


between  the  Mormons  and  their  restless  neighbors,  arid  security  from  the 
Government  in  their  rights.  Mr.  Van  Buren's  answer  to  their  plea  when 
obtained  was,  '•Gentlemen,  your  cause  is  just,  but  I  can  do  nothing  for 
you."  Commerce  was  changed  to  Nauvoo,  the  postofflce  department  recog- 
nizing the  change  April  21.  1840. 

On  June  5,  1841,  Joseph  was  again  arrested,  as  a  fugitive  from  justice, 
by  Sheriff  Thomas  King,  and  taken  to  Monmouth,  Illinois,  where  the 
case  was  tried  before  Judge  Stephen  A.  Douglas,  on  June  8th.  Orville 
H.  Browning,  of  Quincy,  Illinois,  afterward  Secretary  of  the  Interior 
under  President  Lincoln,  appearing  for  the  defence.  Mr.  Smith  was  dis- 
charged, the  judge  giving  expressions  of  indignation  at  the  manner  the 
prisoner  had  been  harrassed  by  his  persecutors. 

On  May  6,  1842,  Mr  Smith  was  again  arrested,  tried  at  Springfield,  and 
acquitted  on  proof  of  innocence. 

From  this  time  until  about  June,  1843,  there  was  a  season  of  rest  af- 
forded to  the  family,  which  Mrs.  Smith  was  well  prepared  to  enjoy.  Sihe 
was  chosen  to  preside  over  a  society  called  ''The  Female  Relief  Society," 
formed  of  prominent  women  of  the  large  and  rapidly  increasing  city 
(which  had  reached  a  population  of  15,000),  the  object  of  the  society  being 
to  seek  out  cases  of  necessity,  sickness  and  distress  in  the  city,  to  take 
cognizance  of  and  institute  measures  for  their  relief. 

Mrs.  Smith  was  chosen  to  preside  because  of  her  well-known  probity, 
clearness  of  perception,  experience  and  decision  of  character.  This 
position  she  held  until  after  the  death  of  her  husband,  and  the  dispersion 
from  Nauvoo  took  place. 

Mr.  Smith's  father  died  in  the  fall  of  1841,  and  in  the  summer  of  1842 
his  mother  became  a  part  of  his  family.  Of  Mrs.  Smith's  care  of  her 
mother-in-law,  that  lady  herself  states:  ''Soon  after  I  took  up  my  resi- 
dence at  her  house  I  was  taken  very  sick  and  was  brought  nigh  unto  death. 
For  five  nights  in  succession  Emma  never  left  me,  but  stood  at  ray  bed- 
sideall  nightlong,  at  the  end  of  which  timeshe  wasovercome  with  fatigue 
and  taken  sick  herself.  Joseph  then  took  her  place  and  watched  with  me 
the  five  succeeding  nights  as  faithfully  as  Emma  had  done."  From  this 
sickness  Mr.  Smith's  mother  soon  recovered,  but  she  remained  an  inmate 
of  the  family  until  her  son's  death,  after  which,  for  some  two  or  three 
years,  she  was  cared  for  by  her  youngest  daughter,  Lucy  Miliken,  and  her 
husband,  when  she  returned  to  the  home  of  Mrs.  Smith,  where  she 
remained  until  May,  1855,  when,  in  the  presence  of  Mrs.  Smith,  her  grand- 
son Joseph,  and  a  neighbor,  she  passed  into  the  great  beyond.  This  aged 
mother  was  confined  to  her  bed,  a  sufferer  from  rheumatism,  by  which 

—  100  — 


her  feet,  hands  and  arms  were  distorted  and  mishapen  for  many  years, 
during  the  greater  part  of  which  time  she  was  provided  for  and  taken 
care  of  at  the  home  of  Mrs.  Smith,  the  widow  of  her  son,  Joseph. 

On  June  13,  1843,  Mrs.  Smith,  with  her  husband  and  children,  started 
by  carriage,  at  that  time  the  only  mode  of  traveling  inland,  to  visit  her 
sister,  Mrs.  Elizabeth  Wasson,  the  wife  of  Benjamin  Wasson,  living  in 
Amboy,  Lee  county,  Illinois.  On  the  same  day  Gov.  Thomas  Reynolds, 
of  Missouri,  appointed  Joseph  H.  Reynolds,  sheriff  of  Jackson  County 
Missouri,  to  proceed  to  Illinois  with  a  new  writ  to  operate  with  Harmon 
T.  Wilson,  of  Hancock  county,  Illinois,  in  arresting  Joseph  Smith,  on  a 
renewal  of  the  same  charge  from  which  he  had  been  discharged  by  a 
competent  court.  These  two  men  followed  Mr.  Smith  to  Mr.  Wasson's 
place,  which  they  reached  June  23rd,  while  the  family  were  at  dinner. 
They  professed  to  be  elders  of  the  church,  and  desired  to  see  "Brother 
Joseph  Smith."  When  Mr.  Smith  appeared,  in  answer  to  the  inquiry, 
these  men  presented  their  pistols  to  his  breast,  at  the  same  time  seizing 
him,  but  without  stating  their  object,  or  showing  a  warrant  or  serving  a 
writ.  Mr.  Smith  asked  what  the  meaning  of  the  arrest  was.  To  this 
Reynolds  replied,  with  an  oath  at  the  beginning  and  end  of  the  sentence, 
"Be  still  or  I  will  shoot  you."  Wilson  joined  in  this  blasphemous  threat- 
ening, and  both  struck  him  with  their  weapons,  and  without  attempting 
to  serve  any  writ  or  presenting  any  process  warranting  the  arrest,  they 
hurried  him  to  a  wagon  near  by,  and  would  have  taken  their  prisoner 
away  without  hat  or  coat  but  for  the  interference  of  a  friend,  Stephen 
Markham,  who  seized  the  horses  by  the  bits  and  held  them  until  Mrs. 
Smith  ran  from  the  house  with  her  husband's  hat,  coat  and  vest. 

Here,  as  in  Missouri,  he  was  taken  from  the  presence  of  his  wife  and 
children  without  explanation  and  without  opportunity  to  bid  his  agitated 
and  tearful  wife  good-bye.  His  captors  hurried  him  to  Dixon,  where 
they  confined  him  in  a  room  in  a  tavern,  waiting  the  hitching  up  of  fresh 
horses.  Mr.  Smith's  friend,  Markham,  had  reached  Dixon  and  under- 
taken to  secure  legal  services.  Hearing  of  it  Mr.  Reynolds  again  threat- 
ened to  kill  Mr.  Smith,  to  which  Mr.  Smith  replied:  "Why  make  the 
threat  so  often?  If  you  want  to  shoot  me,  do,  I  am  not  afraid."  When 
Messrs.  Shepard  G.  Patrick  and  Col.  E.  D.  Southwick,  whose  services 
Markham  had  secured,  attempted  to  communicate  with  Mr.  Smith,  Rey- 
nolds and  Wilson  peremptorily  refused  them  access  to  him.  By  this  time 
considerable  excitement  had  been  aroused  in  the  town,  and  Col.  John 
Dixon,  the  founder  of  the  town,  put  himself  in  the  front  of  an  inquiry  as 
to  the  facts  of  the  arrest;  and,  learning  that  the  sheriffs  had  shown  no 

—  101  — 


writ,  or  served  any  process,  he  became  indignant  and  plainly  notified 
Reynolds  and  Wilson,  that  it  was  possible  such  proceedings  might  do  for 
Missouri,  but  that  no  man  should  be  taken  from  the  town  of  Dixon,  with- 
out proper  process,  or  without  an  opportunity  for  legal  counsel  and 
defense. 

The  sheriffs  then  allowed  the  attorneys  to  hold  consultation  with  Mr. 
Smith,  declaring,  however,  that  they  would  only  allow  one  half  hour  for 
the  prisoner's  benefit.  So  outrageous  was  the  treatment  of  Mr.  Smith, 
by  these  self-appointed  custodians,  that  the  indignation  of  the  citizens 
of  Dixon  was  roused  to  a  high  pitch;  and  but  for  the  intervention  of  Col. 
Dixon  and  the  dispassionate  appeals  of  Mr.  Smith,  himself,  and  his  attor- 
neys, Reynolds  and  Wilson,  would  have  been  lynched.  During  the  ride 
from  Wasson's  to  Dixon,  they  had  constantly  thrust  their  pistols  against 
his  side,  with  threats,  until  he  was  sadly  bruised.  As  it  was,  however, 
the  demand  for  proper  treatment,  seconded  by  the  firm  attitude  of  Col. 
Dixon  and  others,  secured  time  to  procure  legal  action. 

Col.  Dixon  sent  messengers  to  the  Master  in  Chancery  and  to  Attorney 
Walker  to  come  to  Dixon  at  once,  which  they  did.  A  writof  habeascorpus 
was  issued  and  served  by  Sheriff  Campbell,  of  Lee  county,  ordering  that 
Smith  and  his  captors  be  brought  before  Judge  Caton,  then  holding  court 
at  Ottawa.  Reynolds  and  Wilson  were  arrested  for  assault  upon  Smith, 
and  for  false  imprisonment.  The  party  started  for  Ottawa,  but  stopped 
for  the  night  at  Paw  Paw,  twenty-five  miles  on  the  way.  Here  the  next 
morning,  many  having  learned  of  the  arrest  and  the  circumstances  at- 
tending it,  gathered  at  the  hotel,  all  anxious  to  see  the  "Prophet,"  and 
to  hear  him  preach.  This  would  not  suit  Reynolds,  who  was  fearful  of 
what  the  effect  of  a  speech  from  his  prisoner  might  be,  so  he  shouted,  "I 
want  you  to  understand  that  this  man  is  my  legal  prisoner,  and  you  must 
disperse." 

At  this  juncture,  David  Town,  an  elderly  man,  citizen  of  the  place, 
who  was  an  influential  man  of  affairs  and  carried  a  hickory  staff,  ap- 
proached the  irate  sheriff  from  Missouri,  and  said  to  him  with  decided 
emphasis,  "Sit  down  there!"  pointing  to  a  seat,  "and  sit  still.  Don't 
open  your  head  till  General  Smith  gets  through  talking.  If  you  never 
learned  manners  in  Missouri,  we'll  teach  you  that  gentlemen  are  not  to 
be  imposed  upon  by  a  nigger  driver.  You  cannot  kidnap  men  here.  There 
is  a  committee  in  this  grove  that  will  sit  on  your  case;  and,  sir,  it  is  the 
highest  tribunal  in  the  United  States,  as  from  it  there  is  no  appeal." 
This  speech  caused  the  sheriff  to  remain  quiet,  and  Smith  talked  to  those 
gathered  for  an  hour  and  a  half  undistuibed. 

—  102  — 


It  proved  that  Judge  Caton  had  adjourned  court,  and  was  then  on  his 
way  to  New  York,  so  the  party  returned  to  Dixon.  A  new  writ  was  issued 
returnable  to  the  nearest  court.  This  was  the  court  of  Judge  Douglas, 
of  Quincy;  so  the  party  started  for  that  place,  distant  some  two  hundred 
and  fifty  miles.  At  Fox  River,  seven  of  Smith's  friends  met  the  posse, 
when  Smith  said  to  the  sheriff:  "I  think  I  will  not  go  to  Missouri  this 
time."  This  was  June  27th,  four  days  after  the  enforced  arrest,  and  as 
yet,  the  sheriff  had  neither  produced  nor  read  a  warrant,  writ,  or  process, 
by  virtue  of  which  they  were  trying  to  take  a  citizen  of  Illinois  out 
of  the  state  with  a  hostile  threat  of  evil  treatment,  if  successful. 

From  this  the  party  proceeded  to  Nauvoo  in  spite  of  the  protests  of 
sheriffs  Reynolds  and  Wilson,  whom  Sheriff  Campbell  had  compelled  to 
give  up  their  arms,  because  of  the  threats  they  had  made.  They  reached 
Nauvoo,  the  home  of  Smith,  on  June  30th,  he  havhig  been  all  the  time, 
since  the  23rd,  in  the  custody  of  these  sheriffs  without  legal  writ. 

As  soon  as  Mr.  Smith  was  arrested,  Mrs.  Smith  determined  to  reach 
her  home  as  soon  as  she  could.  After  ascertaining  the  course  affairs  were 
likely  to  take  at  Dixon,  under  the  vigorous  regime  of  Col.  Dixon,  and 
Attorneys  Patrick  and  Southwick,  Mrs.  Smith  started  with  her  children 
for  Nauvoo,  a  young  man  named  Loring  Walker  driving  the  team.  She 
reached  home  some  three  days  before  the  cavalcade  accompanying  her 
husband,  and  when  he  and  his  captors,  Sheriff  Campbell  and  the  posse 
reached  the  city  and  her  home,  she  was  ready  to  receive  them;  and  not- 
withstanding there  were  many  to  partake  at  her  board,  all  were  amply 
provided  for  and  treated  by  her  with  every  mark  of  kindness,  hospitality 
and  respect.  The  executive  ability  and  energy  of  Mrs.  Smith  are  demon- 
strated by  the  fact  that  at  every  stage  of  her  husband's  peace,  prosperity, 
peril  and  distress,  she  proved  equal  to  the  emergency  and  conducted  the 
affairs  of  his  household,  her  station  in  society,  and  her  public  appearances, 
in  the  calm  dignity  and  conscious  rectitude  of  splendid  womanhood.  In 
August,  1843,  she  became  landlady  of  the  Nauvoo  Mansion,  a  hotel  quite 
noted  during  the  last  year  of  Mr.  Smith's  lifetime  and  for  many  years 
after. 

On  June  12,  1844,  Mr.  Smith  was  again  arrested  and  again  dismissed. 
June  24th  Joseph  Smith  and  his  brother,  Hiram,  were  again  arrested  on 
the  charge  of  treason.  After  consultation  with  Gov.  Ford  and  others 
who  advised  that  they  should  put  themselves  into  the  hands  of  the  civil 
authorities  to  answer  whatever  charges  might  be  made  against  them, 
and  upon  express  promise  of  the  governor  that  they  should  have  a  fair 
and  impartial  trial,  Joseph  and  Hiram  Smith  did,  on  the  24th  of  June, 

—  103  — 


1844,  proceed  to  Carthage  and  presented  themselves  before  him  to  be 
taken  into  custody.  At  this  interview  with  the  governor  he  pledged  his 
own  faith  and  that  of  the  State  of  Illinois,  that  they  should  be  protected 
from  violence,  and  have  a  fair  and  impartial  trial.  At  dark  that  night 
the  constable  appeared  with  a  mittimus  commanding  him  to  commit  Jo- 
seph and  Hiram  Smith  to  jail  on  a  charge  of  treason  against  the  state, 
issued  by  Justice  Robert  F.  Smith.  Appeal  was  made  to  the  governor, 
but  he  permitted  them  to  be  lodged  in  jail. 

On  the  morning  of  the  26th,  the  governor,  at  9:30  o'clock,  visited  the 
prison  and  had  a  lengthy  interview  with  Joseph  and  Hiram  Smith,  in 
which  he  was  fully  informed  of  what  had  been  done  at  Nauvoo,  and  upon 
which  action  the  charge  of  treason  had  been  made,  and  that  it  was  done 
at  the  direction  of  the  Governor  himself.  Governor  Ford  again  gave  his 
pledge  that  these  men'should  be  protected  from  illegal  harm.  At  2:30  of 
the  same  day,  on  June  26th,  the  Smith  brothers  were  taken  by  Constable 
Bettisworth  before  Justice  R.  F.  Smith  to  answer  for  treason,  and,  on 
proper  showing  the  trial  was  adjourned  until  noon  of  the  27th,  to  allow 
of  getting  witnesses  from  Nauvoo,  eighteen  miles  distant.  Afterwards, 
without  notice  to  defendants,  the  trial  was  postponed  until  the  29th,  and 
the  prisoners  were  remanded  to  jail. 

On  the  morning  of  the  27th,  Governor  Ford  and  his  escort  went  to 
Nauvoo.  He  had  disbanded  a  portion  of  the  state  militia,  but  left  the 
Carthage  Grays  in  charge  of  the  place  (Carthage)  during  his  absence,  a 
detail  from  which  body  of  troops  had  been  stationed  as  guards  at  the 
jail. 

Threats  had  been  made  openly  that  the  Smiths  would  not  be  permit- 
ted to  leave  the  town  alive.  These  threats  had  been  made  in  the  hear- 
ing of  Governor  Ford;  one  Alfred  Randall  stating  that  he  heard  one  of 
the  soldiers  say  to  Governor  Ford:  "  The  soldiers  are  determined  to  see 
Joe  Smith  dead  before  they  leave  town."  The  Governor  replied,  "If  you 
know  of  any  such  thing  keep  it  to  yourself." 

About  five  o'clock  in  the  afternoon  of  the  same  day,  June  27,  1844, 
while  Governor  Thomas  Ford  was  addressing  the  citizens  of  Nauvoo,  a 
mob  of  armed  men,  some  two  hundred  strong,  disguised  by  faces  black- 
ened, coats  turned,  and  in  other  ways,  approached  the  jail,  a  stone  and 
wood  building  in  the  south  western  edge  of  town,  and  overpowered  the 
guard,  who  tired  over  their  heads,  killed  Joseph  and  Hiram  Smith,  and 
wounded ^John  Taylor  nigh  to  death.  There  were  in  the  room,  Joseph 
and  Hiram  Smith,  John  Taylor  and  Willard  Richards,  the  last  two 
named  being  the  only  friends  of  the  two  men  killed  whom  the  officers 

—  104  — 


would  allow  to  stay  with  them.  Each  of  the  men  killed  and  Mr.  Taylor 
were  struck  by  four  balls.  Hiram  Smith  fell  in  the  room;  Joseph  ran 
to  the  window  and  in  making  an  effort  to  get  out  was  struck  by  a  ball 
and  fell  some  feet  to  the  ground.  The  mob,  by  order  of  the  leader,  set 
his  body  against  a  well-curb  near  the  house,  and  would  have  flred  a  vol- 
ley at  it,  but  he  was  already  dead. 

Mr.  Richards  remained  unhurt  in  the  debtor's  room  where  the  pris- 
oners had  been  confined.  Their  work  accomplished  the  mob  retired. 

The  tragedy  was  over;  the  long,  long  struggle  was  ended;  the  loving 
wife  who  had  been  faithful  through  all  things  for  "better  or  worse,"  had 
only  to  wait  in  tearless  woe  the  last  home  coming  of  him  with  whom 
she  had  plighted  her  faith  for  seventeen  years. 

In  the  afternoon  of  the  28th  the  bodies  of  the  two  men  were  brought 
home  to  their  grief  stricken  families  and  friends.  The  long  pending 
stroke  had  fallen,  and  Mrs.  Smith  was  a  widow  with  a  family  of  four 
children,  the  eldest  thirteen.  She  shed  few  tears,  but  in  stony  eyed, 
silent  grief  bore  her  trial,  and  waited  until  thousands  had  passed  the 
bier  on  which  her  dead  was  lying,  when,  with  her  children  by  her,  she 
sat  down  by  the  silent  form.  ''My  husband,  O,  my  husband!  Have  they 
taken  you  from  me  at  last?"  That  night  she  parted  from  her  only  stead- 
fast, earthly  friend,  and  began  the  singular  life  of  patient  endurance 
and  self-denial  to  which  his  death  subjected  her. 

An  administrator  was  appointed  to  take  charge  of  Mr.  Smith's  estate. 
That  it  was  not  large  may  be  known  by  the  fact,  that  with  the  usual 
widow's  exemption  the  sum  of  $124.00  per  year  was  allowed  her  for  the 
care  of  herself  and  family.  A  number  of  creditors  appeared,  and  what 
property  there  was  left  became  the  prey  of  the  creditors  and  the  legal 
costs,  so  that,  by  the  time  the  estate  was  settled,  it  gave  Mrs.  Smith  a 
few  lots  with  their  buildings  in  the  town  of  Nauvoo,  and  some  acres  of 
land  lying  in  the  country.  With  this,  and  patient  industry,  she  set 
herself  to  the  task  of  rearing  her  family,  which  on  the  17th  of  the  next 
November  after  her  husband's  death,  was  increased  by  the  birth  of  a 
son,  whom  she  called  David  Hiram,  for  her  brother  David  and  her  hus- 
band's brother. 

The  troubles  between  the  people  of  the  adjoining  counties  and  the 
Mormon  people  culminated  in  the  expulsion  of  the  latter  from  the  state. 
Mrs.  Smith  had.  by  her  opposition  to  the  measures  and  policy  of  Presi- 
dent Brigham  Young,  become  obnoxious  to  him,  and  to  those  who  ac- 
cepted him,  so  that  when  in  the  fall  and  early  winter  of  1846  the  Latter 
Day  Saints  left  the  state,  she,  ostensibly  one  of  them,  and  yet  opposed 

—  105  — 


to  their  policy,  was  included  in  this  extradition.  Determined  not  to  be 
'  compromised  with  evil  and  its  consequences,  Mrs.  Smith,  to  avoid  possible 
insult,  if  not  injury  from  the  anti-mormon  forces  when  they  should 
enter  the  city  according  to  the  terms  of  capitulation,  left  Nauvoo  with 
her  family  on  board  the  steamer  "Uncle  Toby,"  Captain  Grimes,  com- 
mander, on  the  12th  day  of  September,  1846,  for  Fulton  City,  Whiteside 
county,  Illinois,  whither  one  of  her  friends,  William  Marks,  had  preceded 
her.  She  was  accompanied  by  parts  of  four  other  families,  whom  she 
took  under  her  guidance  and  care.  Wesley  Knight  and  family,  Loring 
Walker  (who  had  married  a  daughter  of  Hiram  Smith)  and  his  family, 
two  orphan  girls,  (Angeline  and  Nancy  Carter),  and  a  young  man  by  the 
name  of  William  Clapp.  Mrs.  Smith  remained  at  Fulton  City  until  Feb- 
ruary, when,  learning  that  the  man  whom  she  had  left  in  possession 
of  her  hotel  was  going  to  dismantle  the  house  and  embark  for  Texas  with 
the  spoils,  she  made  the  trip  by  carriage  to  Nauvoo,  which  she  reached 
in  the  alternoon  of  February  19,  1847,  and  so  determinedly  pushed  her 
claims,  that  in  three  days  she  was  again  installed  in  her  house  as  its 
mistress. 

Mrs.  Smith  nobly  and  faithfully  fulfilled  a  mother's  duties  for  her 
children  until  by  marriage  and  death  they  left  her.  She  continued  to 
live  in  Nauvoo  until  her  death,  April  30,  1879.  Her  last  words  were,  as 
looking  upward,  with  feeble  arms  outstretched  toward  some  one  whom  she 
seemed  to  see,  "Yes,  yes,  I  am  coming." 

She  became  a  member  of  the  church  over  which  her  husband  presided 
in  June,  1830,  and  remained  always  in  the  faith  she  then  embraced,  so  that 
when  at  Amboy,  Illinois,  in  1860,  her  son  joined  the  Reorganized  or  Anti- 
polygamous  branch  of  the  so-called  Mormon  church,  she  was  with  him, 
and  also  united  with  that  church  In  that  faith  she  lived;  in  it  she  died, 
undeviatingly  devoted  and  faithful. 

The  life  of  this  rare  woman  was  passed  in  a  remarkable  period  of  our 
Nation's  history.  The  same  firmness  and  independence,  love  of  right 
and  hatred  of  wrong,  which  characterized  her  sister,  Mrs.  Wasson,  and 
others  of  her  family,  also  characterized  her.  From  her  own  statement, 
if  her  husband  was  a  polygamist  she  did  not  know  it.  She  was  not  taught 
plural  marriage,  either  before  or  after  she  united  with  the  church  in  1830. 
She  knew  of  no  such  tenet  in  connection  with  the  published  faith  of  the 
body  she  was  religiously  associated  with.  If  Joseph  Smith  ever  had  or 
claimed  to  have  had  a  revelation  from  God  authorizing  the  practice,  she 
was  not  informed  of  it;  and  she  stated  positively  and  frequently  during 
her  lifetime  that  she  neither  saw  nor  heard  such  a  document  read  during 

—  106  — 


her  husband's  lifetime.  After  Smith's  death  and  the  succession  of  Brig- 
ham  Young  to  the  leadership  of  the  church,  Mrs.  Smith  steadily  and 
positively  opposed,  not  only  the  dogma  and  practice  of  polygamy,  but 
Mr.  Young's  rule  as  well.  She  was  never  a  convert  to  plural  marriage 
or  spiritual  wifery.  but  always,  from  her  inate  womanly  qualities,  vigor- 
ously opposed  to  it.  She  was  trusted  by  Mr.  Smith  in  every  station  to 
which  his  work  or  station  called  him,  and  she  always  proved  herself  equal 
to  the  situation. 

She  was  patient  and  just  with  her  children,  reared  her  four  sons  to 
manhood,  to  honor  and  revere  her  name,  and  to  bear  the  cross  she  bore 
so  long,  and  to  represent  her  in  her  opposition  to  the  evil  wrought  to  her 
husband's  life  by  the  introduction  of  false  doctrines,  productive  of  the 
evil  with  which  the  Nation  has  wrestled  in  Utah.  She  had  the  courage 
of  her  convictions,  she  hated  tyranny  and  oppression,  and  her  sons  inher- 
ited from  her  the  same  spirit.  Patiently  she  bore  what  she  could  not 
avoid  or  correct,  fully  believing  in  the  law  of  compensation,  and  waiting 
until  He  who  can,  will  make  the  evil  give  place  to  the  good,  the  wrong  to 
that  which  is  right. 

Her  advice  to  her  son  Joseph,  on  his  leaving  home  to  study  law  with 
Hon.  Judge  William  Kellogg,  at  Canton,  Illinois,  is  the  key  to  her  char- 
acter and  the  steadfast  policy  of  her  life.  Handing  him  a  Bible,  she  said 
to  him:  "My  son,  I  have  no  charge  to  you  as  to  what  your  religion  shall 
be.  1  give  you  this  book  with  this  admonition;  make  it  the  man  of 
your  counsel;  live  every  day  as  if  it  were  to  be  the  last,  and  you  will 
have  no  need  to  fear  what  your  future  shall  be." 


In  1840  Reuben  Bridgeman  and  wife.  Cynthia  (Dort)  Bridgeman,  and 
children  arrived  here  from  Bainbridge,  Alleghany  County,  New  York, 
and  located  a  claim  about  one  mile  north  of  this  city.  After  land  came 
into  market  Mr.  Bridgeman  bought  several  eighties  and  when  his  four 
sons,  Curtis,  Lewis,  Edgar  and  Otis,  became  of  age  he  presented  each  of 
them  with  a  farm.  Their  daughters  were  Sally  and  Emily.  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  Bridgeman  were  honorable  people  and  always  willing  to  lend  the 
helping  hand  to  their  neighbors.  They  have  long  since  passed  to  their 
reward,  Mr.  Bridgeman  dying  in  1866,  Mrs.  Bridgeman  in  1871.  Their 
son  Otis  was  one  of  the  first  from  here  to  enlist  in  the  Union  army.  He 
was  a  member  of  Co.  C.,  12th  Illinois  Infantry,  and  was  a  brave  soldier; 
but  was  taken  sick  while  in  the  service  and  came  home  to  die.  The  only 
member  of  the  family  living  here  now  is  Curtis  T.  Bridgeman,  who  re- 
sides on  his  farm  south  of  the  city. 

—  107  — 


-. 

Jacob  Doan,  with  wife  and  six  children,  came  here  in  1840  or  1841  from 
Ohio.  They  came  by  way  of  the  Ohio,  Mississippi  and  Illinois  Rivers, 
taking  a  steamboat  at  Cincinnati.  The  boat  was  named  "Old  Detroit." 
They  had  a  very  pleasant  journey  which  lasted  about  two  weeks,  the 
weather  being  warm  and  comfortable;  but  when  they  landed  at  Peru,  Ill- 
inois, it  was  so  cold  that  they  nearly  froze  making  the  trip  across  the 
country  to  Palestine  Grove.  Mr.  Doan  soon  bought  the  house  which  John 
and  William  Church  had  already  built  on  the  place  now  owned  and  occu- 
pied by  Ira  Smith.  Here  they  lived  for  a  number  of  years;  then  they 
moved  to  Rocky  Ford  and  kept  a  store  and  hotel,  but  at  last  moved  back 
on  a  part  of  the  old  farm,  where  they  lived  with  their  son  David  until 
after  Mr.  Doan's  death.  Mrs.  Doan  and  her  son  David  and  family  now 
live  in  Louisiana. 


Mr.  James  Daley,  one  of  Amboy's  oldest  citizens,  was  born  in  Ireland 
in  1818.  When  nineteen  years  of  age  he  emigrated  to  America.  In  the 
spring  of  1841  he  married  Miss  Ellen  Prindle  of  Ottawa.  Soon  afterwards 
he  came  to  Amboy  and  worked  for  several  months  on  the  old  Illinois  Cen- 
tral R.  R.  He  received  not  a  cent  for  his  labor  and  the  five  hundred 
dollars  which  he  loaned  one  of  the  contractors  is  due  him  to  this"  day. 
Mr.  Daley  was  left  without  anything.  He  next  worked  for  Thomas  Fes- 
senden  two  months  at  fifty  cents  a  day.  In  the  spring  of  1842  he  moved 
to  the  Wassoti  farm,  where  he  remained  nearly  three  years.  In  1845  Mr. 
Daley  settled  on  the  farm  where  he  now  resides;  and  through  a  life  of 
economy  and  fair  dealing  he  has  amassed  a  competency.  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Daley  are  quiet,  kind,  excellent  people  who  command  the  respect  of  all 
who  know  them.  (  Since  this  was  written  Mrs.  Daley  has  died.) 


Rev.  John  Cross,  a  Presbyterian  minister,  lived  at  Temperance  Hill 
and  named  the  place  Theoka,  but  for  some  reason  it  has  outlived  that 
name.  Mr.  Cross  was  a  warm  advocate  for  human  freedom,  a  friend  and 
fellow  worker  with  Owen  Lovejoy,  and  was  imprisoned  at  Ottawa  for 
his  services  as  conductor  on  "the  under-ground  railroad."  He  made  no 
secret  of  his  work.  He  posted  bills  in  Mr.  Bliss's  bar  room  side  by  side 
with  Frink  and  Walker's  stage  route  advertisement:— "Free  ride  on  the 
Underground  Railroad,  and  signed  his  name  "John  Cross,  Proprietor." 
He  had  a  pair  of  horses,  one  cream  colored  and  the  other  bay,  with  which 

—  108  — 


he  took  his  passengers,  who  were  flying  from  slavery  to  freedom,  often 
going  through  from  here  to  Chicago  in  a  day,  sometimes  having  as  'many 
as  four  passengers.  Palestine  Grove  being  but  about  forty  miies  from 
the  Mississippi  River,  it  was  easily  reached  by  those  who  were  sheltered 
and  directed  by  other  friends  of  the  slave,  who  often  helped  them  on 
their  way  to  this  point.  These  under-ground  depots  were  stationed  all 
along  the  way  from  "Dixie's  Land"  and  Ihestation-aqentswere  in  commun- 
ication with  each  other.  There  was  another  station  at  Aurora.  There 
were  young  lads  who  used  to  hear  and  take  note  of  all  these  proceedings, 
who,  when  they  grew  to  manhood,  buckled  on  their  armor  and  fought 
valiantly  for  the  Union,  and  for  that  Freedom  of  which  our  starry  flag  is 
the  ensign. 


In  1841  Martin  Eastwood  left  his  borne  in  Alleghany  County,  New 
York,  when  a  young  man  with  his  wife  and  one  child,  nine  months  old, 
to  seek  his  fortune  in  the  west.  They  came  all  the  way  in  wagons.  A 
man  named  Munger,  with  his  wife,  agreed  to  drive  one  team  through, 
but  stopping  in  Michigan  with  relatives  they  were  persuaded  to  remain, 
and  Mrs.  Eastwood  was  thus  obliged  to  drive  in  his  stead,  the  rest  of  the 
journey.  The  two  wagons  were  covered  and  contained  their  household 
goods.  Three  chests  were  made  to  flt  inside  the  wagons.  They  crossed 
the  Illinois  River  below  La  Salle,  and  came  north  to  Inlet  Grove,  stop- 
ping a  few  days  with  David  Tripp.  At  that  small  place  there  was  one 
store  kept  by  Mr.  Haskell.  From  there  they  went  to  Temperance  Hill 
and  stopped  with  Mr.  Hannum's  family,  who  were  living  in  a  sod  house 
at  that  time.  After  remaining  there  a  few  weeks,  Mr.  Eastwood  com- 
menced western  life  by  breaking  the  sod  for  a  living.  He  built  a  house 
which  could  be  moved  from  place  to  place  by  the  ox  team,  and  he,  with 
Mrs.  Eastwood  and  child,  lived  in  it;  changing  their  locality  when  the 
work  of  breaking  prairies  was  done  for  the  last  employer;  his  oxen,  with 
which  he  had  done  the  work  moving  them,  his  wife  and  child  living  in 
the  house  at  the  same  time.  This  was  the  way  he  supported  his  family 
for  a  while.  After  a  few  years  he  was  able  to  buy  a  tract  of  land,  paying 
$1.25  an  acre  for  it.  He  built  a  house  14x28  feet,  with  two  rooms.  The 
posts  were  set  in  the  ground  and  boards  nailed  on  them.  At  this  time 
there  was  but  one  house  between  them  and  Dixon.  That  was  occupied 
by  Levi  Lewis.  Mr.  Farwell's  farm  comprised  the  track  of  land  where 
Amboy  now  is.  They  did  their  trading  at  Grand  Detour. 

Mr.  Eastwood  succeeded  in  raising  a  crop,  but  his  only  way  of  realiz- 

—  109  — 


ing  any  money  from  it,  was  to  take  it  to  Chicago,  and  that  was  easier 
said  than  dqae.  «•  The  roads  were  not  in  as  good  condition  then  as  now, 
and  a  great/ many  times  they  mired  down  in  the  slough.  One  man  could 
not  ventured  go  alone,  as  it  was  often  necessary  to  unload  the  wagon, 
and  take  two  teams  to  draw  it  from  the  slough.  After  all  this  hard  labor 
and  privation,  which  required  so  much  time,  they  would  sometimes  re- 
turn with  nothing,  their  expenses  having  exceeded  the  amount  received 
for  their  produce,  although  having  taken  provision  with  them  from 
home,  which  they  hoped  would  be  sufficient  for  the  trip;  as  places  where 
it  was  possible  to  secure  a  lunch  were  few  and  far  between. 

One  day  when  Mrs.  Eastwood  was  alone  with  the  children,  she  dis- 
covered that  a  drove  of  cattle  that  was  herding  on  the  prairie,  had  broken 
down  the  fence  and  was  in  the  corn.  At  first  she  knew  not  what  to  do. 
She  could  not  take  both  the  children  with  her;  but,  equal  to  the  emer- 
gency, she  soon  found  a  way.  Tying  the  little  boy  firmly  to  the  bed  post 
so  that  she  would  know  where  he  was,  she  took  the  youngest  in  her  arms 
and  went  a  mile  to  the  boundary  of  the  farm  and  drove  the  cattle  out  of 
the  corn  and  then  repaired  the  fence  as  best  she  could  to  save  the  crops 
which  her  husband  had  toiled  so  hard  to  raise.  At  another  time  she  left 
her  little  boy  alone  playing  on  the  floor  for  a  short  time  while  she  was 
engaged  with  her  work.  She  returned  just  in  time  to  see  a  snake  crawl- 
ing on  the  floor,  and  the  little  one  reaching  out  his  hand  to  take  it,  think- 
ing it  a  pretty  plaything.  Mr.  Eastwood  lived  on  this  farm  twenty-one 
years,  after  which  he  moved  to  Whiteside  County,  and  from  there  to 
Kansas.  He  and  his  wife  were  both  living  when  last  heard  from. 

Mr.  Joseph  and  Mrs.  Cyrus  (Davis)  Farwell  moved  to  this  place  in  May, 
1841,  and  bought  a  claim  of  160  acres  of  Mr.  Sawyer  for  $100.  His  farm 
embraced  all  south  of  Division  street  as  far  as  the  river,  and  as  far  east 
as  the  brook  which  crosses  Main  street,  east  and  west  to  the  bridge  on 
West  Main  street,  extending  over  all  the  ground  on  which  the  railroad 
buildings  are  now  located. 

This  farm  house  was  a  log  cabin  situated  where  Mr.  Zeek's  house  now 
stands,  on  the  corner  of  Main  street  and  Adams  avenue.  It  was  the  one 
owned  by  Mr.  Sawyer,  removed  from  the  head  of  Dutcher's  pond  to  that 
place. 

Mr.  Farwell  planted  the  cotton  wood  trees  which  now  shade  Main 
street  on  each  side,  past  the  Congregationalist  church,  in  1847.  In  1852 
Mr.  Farwell  sold  his  farm  to  H.  B.  Judkins,  who  bought  it  for  the  Illinois 
Central  R.  R.  Co.  He  then  purchased  the  farm  now  owned  by  Mrs.  A. 
H.  Wooste'r,  where  he  lived  till  the  weight  of  advancing  years  caused 

—  110  — 


him  to  sell  his  farm  and  move  to  town.  He  owned  and  occupied  the  pro- 
perty now  improved  by  Dr.  Travers. 

Mr.  Farwell  built  Farwell  Hall,  which  was  used  for  religious  services, 
schools,  place  for  polling,  public  hall,  etc.,  etc.  He  was  a  public  spirited 
and  useful  citizen,  foremost  in  every  good  work.  He  was  an  anti-slavery 
man  when  it  was  unpopular  to  be  so;  was  for,,temperance  and  the  reforms 
of  the  day,  and  occupied  many  places  of  honor  and  usefulness  in  the 
town. 

Mrs.  Farwell  was  very  active  and  capable.  "She  looked  well  to  the 
ways  of  her  household  and  ate  not  the  bread  of  idleness."  In  1875  her 
husband  died,  and  after  spending  some  time  in  her  daughter's  family 
she  went  to  a  son's  in  Colorado,  where  she  died.  She  expressed  a  great 
desire  to  be  buried  by  the  side  of  "that  dear  friend,"  referring  to  her 
husband. 

The  following  is  taken  from  a  local  paper.  "Died.  In  Amboy,  Illi- 
nois, March  5,  1875,  Mr.  Joseph  Farwell,  aged  85  years. 

"The  deceased  was  born  in  Fitchburg,  Mass.,  May  14, 1790,  of  the  orig- 
inal Puritan  stock,  which  settled  throughout  the  New  England  States. 
While  a  child,  his  parents  moved  to  Harvard,  and  at  the  age  of  25  years, 
he  united  with  the  Congregational  Church  of  that  place.  The  aged 
couple,  who  have  lived  so  long  and  happily  together,  were  married  in 
1819,  and  they  moved  to  Lowell,  Mass.,  in  1826,  where  Mr.  Farwell  united 
with  others  in  forming  the  first  Congregational  Church  of  that  place.  In 
a  few  years  he  helped  establish  the  second  Congregational  Church  in 
Lowell,  and  again  the  third  church  of  that  order,  in  all  of  which  he  was 
held  in  high  esteem,  and  officiated  as  deacon. 

In  1836  the  family  moved  to  Amboy,  Michigan,  where  Mr.  Farwell 
aided  again  in  founding  the  first  Congregational  Church  of  that  place. 
In  May,  1841,  he  moved  to  this  place,  then  Palestine  Grove,  where  he  and 
Mrs.  Farwell  united  with  the  Lee  Center  Congregational  Church,  but  in 
due  time  they  united  with  Mr.  and  Mrs.  John  C,  Church,  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Blocher,  and  Dr.  Abbott,  wife  and  daughter,  in  organizing  the  present 
Congregational  Church  of  Amboy.  Mr.  Farwell  remained  a  consistent 
and  influential  member  of  the  church  until  his  death.  He  built  the  old 
Farwell  Hall,  on  the  west  side,  near  the  old  U.  B.  church,  and  for  a  long 
time  his  church,  and  nearly  all  the  public  meetings  were  held  in  that 
building.  At  the  time  Amboy  was  laid  out,  he  was  the  owner  of  the  land 
in  the  original  plot.  The  Monday  before  he  died  was  the  first  election 
at  which  he  ever  failed  to  vote.  Mrs.  Farwell  was  ten  years  his  junior. 
Their  children  are  Joseph,  Cyrena  (wife  of  Deacon  Church),  Cyrus  and 

—  113  — 


Brainard,  and  this  is  the  first  death  in  the  family.  His  last  expressions 
gave  evidence  of  the  faith  and  hope  with  which  he  lived.  His  last  sick- 
ness was  brief,  having  suffered  but  a  day  or  two,  and  retaining  his  con- 
sciousness to  the  close.  His  last  utterances  were  about  "going  home," 
and  'Glory  to  God  in  the  Highest.'  His  funeral  last  Sabbath  was  largely 
attended." 


Among  those  who  came  at  an  early  day,  to  what  is  now,  the  pleasant 
town  of  Amboy,  was  Mrs.  Gyrene  Church.  In  the  year  1836,  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Farwell,  with  their  three  sons  and  one  daughter,  then  Miss  Gyrene  Far- 
well,  left  their  home  among  the  hills  of  Massachusetts  to  journey  to  the 
far  west;  settling  for  a  few  years  in  the  wilds  of  Michigan.  These  few 
years  gave  them  a  severe  experience  of  frontier  life,  and  in  1841  they 
left  a  region  filled  with  malaria  and  ague  and  finally  settled  at  Palestine 
Grove,  as  it  was  then  called.  For  a  time  they  shared  the  log  house  of 
Cyrus  Davis,  a  brother  of  Mrs.  Farwell. 

Those  log  houses  by  the  way,  were  a  little  like  the  traditional  omnibus 
we  hear  so  much  about,  for  they  not  only  could  always  hold  one  more, 
but  could  take  whole  families  into  their  elastic  embrace.  In  those  days 
it  was  comparatively  a  simple  matter  to  enter  a  claim,  and  build  a 
little  house,  so  a  short  time  only,  passed,  before  our  friends  found  them- 
selves in  their  own  home. 

In  1842,  Miss  Farwell  was  married  to  John  C.  Church,  familiarly  and 
affectionately  known  to  many,  in  his  later  years,  as  Deacon  Church.  For 
years  they  enjoyed  the  simple  pleasures,  and  shared  the  more  sober  inci- 
dents, which  always  attend  life  on  the  frontier.  One  experience  our 
friend  enjoyed,  which  seldom  falls  to  the  lot  of  people  in  these  days;  and 
that  was,  assembling  with  her  husband,  and  four  others,  at  her  father's 
house,  on  the  27th  day  of  June,  1854,  for  the  purpose  of  organizing  a  church. 
It  was  was  the  first  religious  society,  and  was  the  first  church  formed  in 
the  town.  It  must  have  been  a  great  pleasure,  to  see  from  this  small 
beginning,  a  church  grow  and  prosper  so  wonderfully,  and  become  such  a 
power  for  good. 

The  most  conspicuous  trait  in  our  friend's  character,  was  her  intense 
love  of  home.  She  was  in  all  respects  a  most  devoted  mother. 

The  society  of  the  gay  world  had  little  attraction  for  her;  and  when 
sorrow  came  to  her,  as  it  does  to  all,  arid  she  saw,  one  after  another,  her 
little  children  go  away  to  the  better  land,  she  did  not  murmer  or  com- 
plain. To  her  friends,  she  was  ever  loyal,  and  those  In  sickness  or  sorrow 

—  114  — 


knew  the  kindness  of  her  heart,  and  the  largess  of  her  hand.  What  high- 
er honor  can  we  pay  her  memory,  than  to  quote  a  few  words  from  the 
great  Solomon,  in  his  beautiful  tribute  to  woman.  "The  heart  of  her 
husband  doth  safely  trust  in  her."  and,  "  Her  children  shall  arise  up  and 
call  her  blessed." 

The  following  interesting  letter  from  Mrs.  Lucy  (Church)  Ramsey, 
written  to  her  niece,  Miss  Ella  Church  of  this  city,  has  just  been  handed 
in. 

MY  DEAR  ELLA:— You  ask  me  to  contribute  something  to  the  early 
history  of  Amboy,  and  I  will  try  now. 

This  is  the  third  time  I  have  been  solicited  for  items  for  the  Lee 
County  History  and  I  have  just  begun  to  realize  that  I  am  a  pioneer 
woman  myself. 

We  came  from  central  New  York  to  Lee  County  in  the  Fall  of  1841, 
and  my  first  Illinois  winter  was  spent  near  where  Amboy  now  is,  teaching 
their  first  school  —  and  board  ing 'round  —  so  had  unlimited  oppor- 
tunities for  observation. 

Where  Amboy  and  adjoining  towns  now  are  was  called  at  that  time 
Palestine  Grove,  and  different  places  referred  to  as  "North  Side,"  "South 
Side,"  or  "East  End  of  the  Grove." 

A  majority  of  my  patrons  were  from  Ohio,  Indiana,  or  states  farther 
south;  but  their  dwellings  and  manner  of  life  were  quite  similar,  whether 
they  were  emigrants  from  Carolina  or  Connecticut. 

The  houses  were  built  of  logs,  and  most  of  them  had  floor  of  puncheon 
and  roof  of  shakes. 

One  side  of  the  room  was  a  huge  fireplace,  and  there  all  the  food  was 
prepared  in  skillet,  kettle  or  bake  oven. 

On  the  opposite  side  was  a  bed  or  two — the  other  sleeping  places  were 
in  the  loft  overhead. 

One  night  after  we  had  all  retired  arid  were  asleep,  we  were  awakened 
by  that  hoarse,  distressed  breathing  of  a  child  with  croup.  The  father 
ascended  the  ladder,  brought  down  the  little  lad.  held  him  a  little  while 
before  the  fire,  there  placed  him  in  bed  and  all  was  quiet  again  till 
morning. 

When  I  enquired  what  cured  him  so  quickly  the  answer  was:  "1  took 
my  pocket  knife  and  started  the  blood  a  little  between  the  shoulders."  I 
never  heard  of  the  remedy  before  or  since,  but  it  was  effective  that  time. 

I  think  in  looking  backward  to  fifty  years  ago,  we  discover  more  hard- 
ships than  we  actually  realized  when  we  were  actors  upon  that  stage. 

—  115  — 


But  soldiers  like  to  "flght  their  battles  o'er  again"  and  a  story  loses  noth- 
ing in  the  telling. 

These  people  interested  me.  They  were  kind,  hospitable,  and  gen- 
uine. The  men  were  good  husbands  and  affectionate  fathers;  the  women 
real  home  makers.  They  spun,  colored,  wove,  and  fashioned  the  garments 
for  their  families.  They  toiled,  of  course,  but  it  was  for  those  they  loved, 
and  it  could  not  be  called  hardship. 

Every  one  likes  to  do  as  well  as  his  neighbors,  and  they  never  come 
nearer  to  it  than  they  do  on  the  frontier. 

No  time  or  place  is  entirely  exempt  from  sickness,  and  almost  every 
one  had  to  suffer  with  ague  and  fever;  but  cancer,  diphtheria,  and 
nervous  prostration  were  unheard  of. 

Perhaps  I  ought  to  tell  of  that  little  first  school  bouse.  It  was  of  the 
same  style  of  architecture  as  the  homesteads— its  furniture  a  desk  across 
one  side,  a  few  rough  benches,  and  a  chair.  But  the  children  were  just 
as  precious  as  those  of  the  present  day;  and  for  docility  and  brightness 
would  compare  favorably  with  those  of  1893. 

I  do  not  suppose  the  legend  of  "Acadernus'  Sacred  Shade"  had  any 
thing  to  do  with  the  choice  of  site  for  this  temple  of  learning,  but  it  was 
built  among  the  oaks  south  of  the  Inlet,  and  when  summer  came  with 
its  birds,  greenery  and  wild  flowers  it  was  very  pleasant. 

Religious  privileges  were  not  wanting.  Besides  the  circuit-rider  of 
the  frontier,  there  was  an  Episcopal  clergyman,  a  Congregationalist min- 
ister, and  a  Baptist  elder  settled  on  farms  in  the  vicinity,  who  occasion- 
ally gave  out  an  appointment  to  preach;  and  settlers  for  miles  around 
came  to  hear  and  meet  their  neighbors.  All  were  neighbors  then  who 
lived  no  more  than  ten  miles  away. 

Well,  those  days  are  remembered  with  those  of  logs  ago.  May  I  never 
lose  the  memory  of  them! 

Joseph  B.  Appleton  was  the  oldest  child  of  Joseph  and  Hannah  (Knowl- 
ton)  Appleton,  of  Dublin,  New  Hampshire,  and  was  born  March  9, 1819. 
He  was  a  nephew  of  Samuel  Appleton,  of  Boston,  Massachusetts,  one  of 
that  city's  "merchant  princes."  Of  this  noted  uncle  there  is  an  interest- 
ing sketch  from  which  the  following  is  taken  for  the  encouragement  of 
Amboy  boys:  "A  few  weeks  previous  to  his  death  he  was  heard  to  say 
that,  before  he  began  the  business  of  a  merchant,  he  worked  chopping 
down  trees  on  one  of  the  lots  of  land  which  his  father  had  purchased  in 
Dublin,  New  Hampshire,  and  that  he  then  thought  of  settling  upon  it. 
But  as  it  was  in  the  month  of  June  and  the  weather  very  hot  he  was  not 

—  116  — 


satisfied  with  that  kind  of  labor,  and  concluded  to  procure  a  living  in 
some  other  way.  Accordingly  he  left  the  woods  and  engaged  in  trade. 
The  result  is  well  known."  From  a  letter  written  in  his  87th  year  to  the 
committee  of  arrangements  in  response  to  a  letter  requestihg  his  personal 
attendance  at  the  celebration  of  the  hundredth  anniversary  of  the  settle- 
ment of  Dublin.  New  Hampshire,  the  following  is  extracted.  After  ex- 
pressing regret  that  age  and  bodily  infirmities  compel  his  absence,  he 
says:  "  I  have  always  taken  an  interest  in  the  town  of  Dublin.  In  or 
about  the  year  1786. 1  resided  there  four  months,  and  was  engaged,  during 
that  time  in  teaching  two  different  schools,  say  of  two  months  each,  at 
eight  dollars  per  month.  *  *  *  In  one  district  it  was  arranged  for  the 
schoolmaster  to  live  with  the  family  that  would  board  and  lodge  him  the 
cheapest.  Having  been  informed  where  I  was  to  board,  I  set  out  for  my 
new  home  on  foot,  carrying  the  greater  part  of  my  wardrobe  on  my  back, 
and  the  remainder  tied  up  in  a  bandanna  handkerchief.  On  arriving  at 
the  place  of  my  destination,  I  found  my  host  and  hostess,  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Fairbanks  ready  and  apparently  glad  to  see  me.  They  were  to  receive 
for  my  board,  lodging  and  washing  sixty-seven  cents  per  week.  Their 
house  was  made  of  logs  with  only  one  room  in  it,  which  served  for  parlor, 
kitchen  and  bedroom.  I  slepton  a  trundle-bed,  which  during  the  day  was 
wheeled  under  the  large  bed,  where  the  master  and  mistress  of  the  house  re- 
reposed  during  the  night.  Every  morning  and  evening  there  were  family 
prayers  and  readings  from  the  Bible, in  which  I  sometimes  took  an  active 
part.  After  spending  two  weeksatMr.Fairbank's,!  removed  to  Mr.  Perry's. 
He  was  a  good  farmer,  his  wife  an  excellent  house-keeper;  and  I  finished 
my  school  term  very  pleasantly  to  myself  and,  I  believe,  very  satisfac- 
torily to  my  employers.  Since  that  time  great  improvements  have  been 
made  in  the  public  schools  of  Dublin.  I  am  informed  that  it  contains  as 
good  schools,  and  turns  out  as  competent  teachers  as  any  town  in  New 
Hampshire.  In  consideration  of  the  "good  and  healthful  condition"  of 
its  public  schools,  and  of  the  "spirit  of  improvement"  which  appears  to 
animate  those  who  are  engaged  in  them,  I  am  induced  to  send  to  the 
town  of  Dublin  my  check  for  the  sum  of  one  thousand  dollars,  to  be  ap- 
propriated to  educational  purposes  in  such  manner  as  the  superintending 
school  committee  shall  deem  expedient."  Mr.  Appleton  sent  the  follow- 
ing toast:  "The  Common  Schoolsof  Dublin. — Uncommon  in  Excellence." 
This  letter  was  written  in  1852  and  the  school  which  he  taught  was  in 
1786,  more  than  a  hundred  years  ago.  When  Amboy  shall  celebrate  her 
centennial,  which  of  our  children's  children  will  remember  her  in  this 
way? 

—  117  — 


So  Joseph  Appleton  was  not  the  first  one  by  the  name  to  try  pioneer 
life.  He  came  to  Illinois  in  1842,  stopping  at  Batavia,  New  York,  and 
teaching  school  awhile.  He  bought  land  in  this  place  from  the  Sawyers, 
remaining  little  over  a  year  before  returning  east,  and  tarrying  with  his 
aunt,  Mrs.  Cyrus  Davis,  while  here.  He  came  to  own  several  hundred 
acres,  a  part  of  his  land  being  the  homestead  known  as  the  Appleton 
Place,  on  Main  street,  West.  He  married  Miss  Abbie  H.  Hunt,  of  New 
Ipswich,  New  Hampshire,  on  September  17,  1844,  and  they  started  for 
Illinois  the  next  month.  On  arriving  in  Chicago  they  met  Asa  B.  Searles, 
with  a  lumber  wagon,  who  brought  them  to  Palestine  Grove.  The  same 
fall  Mr.  Appleton  built  a  log  cabin  on  his  farn>,  and  afterwards  a  good 
frame  house  which  was  destroyed  by  fire  a  few  years  ago. 

Samuel  E.,  Isaac  J.,  Abby  R.  (Mrs.  Charles  Thayer)  who  lives  at  Wa- 
verly,  Iowa,  and  Maria  N.  (Mrs.  George  Woods),  of  Canton,  Illinois,  are 
their  children  living.  Julia,  an  infant  daughter,  died  August  17,  1855» 
and  on  the  28th  of  the  next  month  Mr.  Appleton  died  He  was  one  of 
the  most  capable,  active  and  prominent  citizens  of  the  lown. 

Mr.  Appleton's  widow  married  Dr.  T.  P.  Sleeper,  of  St.  Albans,  Maine> 
and  they  have  two  daughters,  Anna  A.  and  Emma  A. 

Our  fellow  townsman,  Samuel  E.  Appleton,  was  born  September  7th, 

1845,  served  in  Co.  I,  134th  Regiment  Illinois  Volunteers  in  the  war,  do- 

f 
ing  garrison  duty  in  Missouri  and  Kentucky.     He  has,  at  this  writing' 

just  been  elected  town  collector  by  his  friends,  of  which  he  has  and  de- 
serves many. 


William  Rolf  reached  Amboy  in  1842,  and  a  few  years  afterwards 
married  Mary  S.  Pyle,  a  daughter  of  Samuel  Pyle.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Rolf 
lived  in  Rocky  Ford  and  for  a  time  the  postofflce  was  in  their  house. 
When  the  mail  carrier  arrived  all  the  contents  of  the  mail  bag  would  be 
dumped  upon  the  floor,  and  the  letters  and  papers  which  belonged  to 
this  office  selected  from  the  rest,  which  were  put  back  into  the  sack  to 
be  assorted  in  life  manner  at  the  next  postoffice.  Soon  after  the  city  of 
Amboy  was  laid  out  Mr.  Rolf  bought  a  lot  here  and  built  a  house,  where 
he  lived  several  years.  They  now  reside  in  Albany,  Illinois. 

Rev.  John  Ingersoll,  the  father  of  Robert  G.,  followed  Rev.  Joseph 
Gardner,  and  preached  for  two  years  in  the  Wasson  school-house,  divid- 
ing the  time  between  Amboy,  Inlet  Grove  and  Bradford.  He,  with  a 
daughter  and  two  sons,  Clark  and  Robert,  boarded  for  a  time  in  the 
family  of  Asa  Searles.  He  afterwards  lived  just  north  of  the  Chicago 

—  118  — 


road  and  snpplemented  his  meager  professional  income  with  the  proceeds 
of  farming.  He  used  to  speak  with  reverence  and  tenderness  of  the 
mother  of  his  children  who  had  died  previous  to  his  coming  to  Illinois. 

Mr.  Ingersoll  was  a  stern  Presbyterian  of  the  old  school.  He  is  said 
to  have  borne  a  striking  resemblance  to  Gen.  Jackson's  pictures;  and  he 
was  a  warrior,  too,  ready  to  fight  Apolyon  whenever  his  Majesty  appeared 
with  young  or  old. 

"The  Elder"  transmitted  not  his  form  and  features  to  his  jovial  son, 
who  was  even  at  that  age  irresistably  charming  to  some  of  his  playfel- 
lows, so  that  some  boys  forgot  their  work  when  he  was  near. 

One  day,  on  his  way  to  school  with  other  scholars,  there  was  a  place 
to  cross  where  the  water  had  overflowed  the  rustic  bridge,  and  there  was 
no  way  to  pass  except  to  wade  through  the  cold  and  ice-laden  water. 
Little  Clara  Frisbee  was  one  of  the  number,  and  the  kind  hearted  boy 
took  the  little  girl  up  and  carried  her  carefully  over.  Mr.  Wheat,  the 
teacher,  already  at  the  school-house,  was  looking  from  the  window  and 
witnessed  the  gallant  service,  and  when  the  children  arrived  he  looked 
at  Robert  with  a  roguish  smile  which  would  have  annoyed  some  boys, 
especially  as  the  other  scholars  joined  in  the  minh.  But  Robert,  as  he 
dried  his  wet  clothes  and  warmed  himself  at  the  flre,  looked  as  if  nobody 
enjoyed  the  fun  better  than  he  did;  and  the  little  maiden,  all  unconscious 
of  anything  droll  in  the  picture  from  the  window,  wondered  what  pleased 
them  so.  Robert  was,  at  that  time,  about  fifteen  years  of  age,  very  "self 
sustained"  and  sociable.  Years  afterwards,  when  the  notoriety  of  Rob- 
ert G.  Ingersoll  first  reached  Arnboy,  his  old  schoolmates  here  were  sur- 
prised to  learn  that  it  was  the  veritable  Bob.  of  the  old  log  school-house. 

One  who  knew  his  father  well,  and  had  often  entertained  him,  re- 
marked that  it  was  not  surprising  that  Robert  swung  to  the  other  ex- 
treme in  matters  of  a  religious  nature,  for  although  he  was  not  the  boy 
of  whom  it  was  said  that  his  father  kept  him  tied  up  all  day  Sunday  and 
made  him  sing  "Thine  earthly  Sabbaths,  Lord,  we  love,"  yet  Bob's  exper- 
ience was  not  altogether  unlike  that  boy's. 

Mr.  Ingersoll  owned  a  horse  named  Selim  which  he  traded  for  cattle, 
the  result  proving  that  either  the  minister  or  the  owner  of  the  cattle  was 
not  a  judge  of  horse  flesh. 

He  was  a  strong  advocate  for  temperance  and  on  one  occasion  when 
he  was  in  company  with  Mr.  Slyvester  Frisbee,  he  was  invited  by  an  ac- 
quaintance to  a  barn  raising.  The  Elder  asked  if  they  were  to  have 
whiskey  there.  On  being  answered  in  the  affirmative,  he  replied  that  he 
could  not  attend.  Mr.  Frisbee  followed  the  example. 

—  119  — 


It  is  related  by  one  who  used  to  attend  his  meetings,  that  if  any  of 
his  hearers  arrived  late,  he  would  stop,  and  then  begin  the  sermon  again; 
and  that  his  discourses  were  rather  prolix. 

Among  those  who  moved  here  in  1844,  was  Orres  Adams,  of  Milford, 
Otsego  county,  New  York.  Mr.  Adams  was  then  fifty-two  years  old,  and 
his  wife,  Mrs.  Mehitable.  two  years  younger. 

Himself  and  wife  and  their  two  youngest  children,  aged  eleven  and 
nine  years,  Henry  and  Ellen,  constituted  the  family.  They  lived,  for  sev- 
eral years,  near  the  Wasson  School  House,  at  that  time,  the  center  of  the 
settlement.  The  school  house  was  newly  builded,  and  people  came  from 
all  directions  to  attend  church.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Adams  soon  became 
acquainted  with  all  their  neighbors.  Rev.  Luke  Hitchcock,  Rev.  Mr. 
Harris,  Rev.  Charles  Cross  and  other  pioneer  preachers  were  callers  at 
their  home  and  were  always  given  a  cheerful  welcome.  Mrs.  Adams  was 
one  of  the  early  members  of  the  Methodist  church  and  was  ever  ready  to 
speak  a  good  word  for  the  cause  of  Christianity.  Those  who  knew  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Adams,  speak  of  them  as  kind  neighbors,  enjoying  the  confi- 
dence and  respect  of  all.  Their  married  life  was  nearly  three  score  years 
and  ten.  Sixty-seven  years  they  walked  together  and  died  at  a  ripe  old 
age  at  the  home  of  their  son,  Henry  Adams  at  Binghamton.  Their 
daughter  Ellen  who  married  Jay  Andruss.  died  when  about  thirty-seven 
years  of  age.  No  kinder  woman  ever  lived. 


Mr.  J.  W.  Beresford  has  kindly  consented  to  furnish  some  of  his  recol- 
lections of  early  times.  Although  a  resident  of  Ambov  but  36  years,  he 
came  to  Illinois  with  his  parents  in  1822,  at  the  age  of  seven  years;  and 
it  is  probable  that  very  lew  people  are  living  in  Northern  Illinois  who 
came  here  at  that  early  date.  Mr.  Beresford  attended  the  Old  Settler's 
Picnic  at  Ottawa  last  fall,  and  among  them  all,  none  except  himself 
could  go  back  farther  than  1829;  Mr.  Beresford  being  seven  years  in 
advance  of  them.  His  brother  James  was  one  of  the  number  murdered 
in  the  historic  Indian  Creek  Massacre. 

Mr.  Beresford  says:  Perhaps  for  a  better  understanding  of  what  fol- 
lows, it  would  be  well  to  describe  the  part  of  Illinois  referred  to,  and  its 
inhabitants,  as  found  in  the  spring  of  1822.  The  vast  and  beautiful  agri- 
cultural region  of  country  from  Peoria  to  Chicago,  a  distance  of  160  miles; 
and  from  near  the  Wabash  river  on  the  south,  to  near  the  Mississippi  on 
the  west,  there  were  no  permanent  white  settlements  at  that  time.  The 
land  (or  most  of  it)  belonged  to  the  Government  and  was  not  organized 
into  counties,  but  was  attached  to  Tazwell  county,  Peoria  being  thecoun- 

—  120  — 


MRS.  ORRES  ADAMS. 


ty  seat.  Over  this  large  scope  of  country  were  various  tribes  of  Indians. 
Among  them  was  the  Pottawattomie  tribe,  peacable,  friendly  and  well 
disposed  toward  the  white  people.  To  this  tribe  it  was  resolved  by  the 
Methodist  Episcopal  Conference,  at  one  of  their  annual  meetings  of  the 
St.  Glair  Conference,  to  send  a  missionary  for  the  purpose  of  educating 
and  christianizing  them.  Rev.  Jesee  Walker,  a  member  of  that  confer- 
ence was  appointed  Missionary,  and  large  contributions  and  supplies  were 
entrusted  to  him  for  this  mission. 

Two  ox  teams  and  wagons,  eight  or  ten  cows  and  calves,  a  few  young 
cattle  and  pigs,  flour,  bacon,  corn,  buckwheat,  potatoes,  groceries,  cloth- 
ing, farming  tools,  carpenter  and  blacksmith  tools,  etc.,  etc.,  were  turned 
over  to  Mr.  Walker  with  instructions  to  establish  a  mission  at  or  near  the 
mouth  of  Fox  river,  or  where  the  Fox  river  unites  with  the  Illinois, 
about  eighty  miles  above  Peoria,  midway  between  Peoria  and  Chicago. 

To  carry  out  these  instructions,  a  large  keel  boat  was  chartered,  the 
supplies  put  on  board,  together  with  the  household  goods  of  two  families 
etc.  The  teams  were  loaded  and  driven  overland  together  with  the  loose 
stock.  The  party  at  this  time  consisted  of  Rev.  Jesse  Walker,  Aaron 
Hawley,  wife  and  two  small  girls,  Pierce  Hawley,  (  brother  of  Aaron  ) 
wife,  and  daughter  Caroline  about  16  years  old,  and  two  small  boys,  John 
and  George. 

At  Peoria  they  were  joined  by  Robert  Beresford  and  family,  consisting 
of  his  wife  and  two  small  boys  named  James  and  John,  also  a  school 
teacher  Allen.  Being  thus  re-enforced,  together  with  four  or  five  hired 
men,  the  party  proceeded  to  their  place  of  destination,  where  they  arriv- 
ed, after  many  hardships  and  privations,  in  the  month  of  June  1822. 
They  were  here  met  by  about  two  hundred  Indians,  also  a  white  man 
named  Countryman,  who  had  lived  with  the  Indians  a  long  time  and  who 
spoke  their  language  fluently,  acting  as  their  interpreter'  Here  we  also 
met  Shabbona  the  head  chief  of  the  tribe,  who  afterwards,  in  1832,  render- 
ed such  valuable  service  to  the  settlers  by  warning  them  that  Black 
Hawk,  with  his  band  of  savages,  was  coming  to  kill  all  the  settlers  in  the 
country.  Here  the  Indians  remained  and  held  a  Pow-Wow  lasting  two 
or  three  days,  and  received  presents  from  their  white  friends. 

Every  thing  was  arranged  satisfactorily.  Some  of  the  men  were  set  to 
work  erecting  shanties  for  shelter  for  the  families,  and  storage  for  the 
contents  of  the  boat.  Other  men  "started  breaking  team,"  planted  sod 
corn  and  potatoes,  and  sowed  buckwheat  and  turnips,  in  all  about  fifteen 
acres.  Others  of  the  party  were  preparing  timber  and  erecting  log  cabins 
on  the  South  side  of  the  Illinois  River  near  the  new  noted  Sulphur 

—  123  — 


Spring.    When  completed  they  were  occupied  by  one  of  the  Hawley  fami- 
lies and  the  Beresford  family. 

About  this  time  it  was  discovered  that  the  place  was  not  on  the  Reser- 
vation, and  it  was  thought  best  to  erect  permanent  buildings  on  the  East 
side  of  Fox  River,  about  fifteen  miles  up  that  stream.  Here  were  erected 
large  and  comfortable  log  houses.  To  this  place  most  of  the  Mission 
party  moved,  and  spent  the  following  winter  preparing  to  fence  a  large 
farm  in  the  spring;  the  Hawley  and  Beresford  families  remaining  in  the 
first  houses  built. 

Here  we  record  the  first  birth  and  death  of  a  white  child  in  the 
country.  There  was  born  to  Robert  and  Mary  Beresford  a  daughter, 
who  lived  only  two  or  three  months,  and  was  buried  not  far  from  the 
cabin. 

About  this  time  a  few  settlers  came; — a  Mr.  Brown  and  son  settled  on 
the  South  side  of  the  Illinois  River,  about  one  mile  above  the  mouth  of 
the  Fox  River.  Mr.  Bailey  settled  at  Bailey's  Point,  John  Ramsey  and 
family,  near  the  cabin  first  built;  also  the  Pembroke  family  and  a  few 
others  settled  near  these  two  Mission  Stations. 

In  the  fall  of  1825  the  families  of  Hawley  and  Beresford  moved  to  what 
is  now  called  Holderman's  Grove,  three  miles  from  Mission  Grove. 
About  this  time  was  solemnized  the  first  wedding  in  the  country.  A 
young  man,  named  Williard  Scott,  frequently  going  and  returning  be- 
tween Chicago  and  Peoria,  and  stopping  at  the  Mission,  formed  the  ac- 
quaintance of  our  Mission  girl,  Caroline  Hawley.  In  due  course  of  time 
arrangements  for  a  wedding  were  made;  and  Williard  Scott  and  his 
brother  Willis,  accompanied  by  a  young  lady  from  Chicago,  came  to  the 
Mission,  where  Willis  and  his  intended  remained  while  his  brother  went 
to  Peoria  and  returned  with  marriage  licences  for  all  four  of  the  high  con- 
tracting parties.  They  were  married  at  the  Mission  Chapel  by  our 
worthy  Missionary,  Rev.  Jesse  Walker. 

A  short  time  before  this  marriage,  a  young  chief  offered  Mr.  Hawley 
ten  ponies  and  a  large  amount  of  furs  for  his  daughter  Caroline.  To 
this  proposal  the  young  lady  demurred,  her  father  informing  the  savage 
that  it  was  not  the  custom,  and  it  was  contrary  to  the  religion  of  the 
whites  to  sell  their  daughters  for  wives. 

Late  in  the  autumn  of  1829  three  families  from  Ohio,  viz.,  John 
Green,  R.  Debolt  and  Henry  Baumbach  settled  at  and  near  where  the 
town  of  Dayton  is  now  located.  During  the  following  two  years,  other 
families  from  the  same  place  in  Ohio,  came  and  settled  near  the  first 
comers  in  Dayton.  Some  of  their  names  we  will  enumerate.  Win.  Strat- 

—  124  — 


MARIA  ADAMS. 

(MKS.  YOCUM.) 


ton.  Mathias  Trumbo,  Mrs.  Pitzer  and  sons,  the  Govens,  the  Donovans, 
the  Armstrongs  and  Doctor  David  Walker  and  family,  two  sons  and  three 
daughters— all  grown  persons. 

From  these  points  settlements  spread  in  all  directions;  some  on  Bock 
River,  Desplaines,  DuPage  and  Fox  River  and  their  tributaries. 

Shortly  after  this  the  country  was  organized  into  counties;  elections 
were  held,  county  officers  elected  and  courts  of  record  established.  This 
brings  us  up  to  the  spring  of  1832,  when  the  Black  Hawk  War  broke  out. 
Settlers  Scattered  all  over  the  country,  heeding  the  warning  given  by  our 
friend  Shabbona  and  his  sons  at  the  risk  of  their  own  lives.  The  settlers 
had  barely  time  to  gather  at  a  central  location,  build  fortifications  and 
organize  for  mutual  protection  before  Black  Hawk  was  on  the  war-path 
in  full  force.  The  first  outrage  was  the  massacre  of  the  Davises,  Halls 
and  the  Pettegrew  families  on  Indian  Creek,  on  the  20th  day  of  May, 
when  thirteen  men,  women  and  children  were  butchered.  Two  of  the 
Hall  girls,  young  ladies,  were  taken  captive.  A  month  later,  near  this 
place,  James  Beresford  was  killed  and  two  men  named  Schermerhorn 
and  Hasseltine  on  Fox  River  were  killed.  The  history  of  the  Black 
Hawk  War  is  so  familiar  to  many  that,  the  outrages  committed  need  not 
be  repeated  here. 

David  Searles  and  wife  moved  from  Otsego  County,  New  York,  to  Lee 
County  in  1844  and  located  in  Crombie  Lane  on  the  farm  now  owned  by 
Hiram  Bates.  His  family  consisted  of  his  wife,  Eliza  Ann,  daughter  of 
Mr.  Orres  Adams,  and  daughter  Eugenia.  Mr.  Searles  was  a  prominent 
citizen  and  considered  quite  wealthy  for  those  days.  When  land  first 
came  into  market,  many  settlers  were  not  able  to  pay  for  their  claims, 
and  they  came  to  him  for  assistance.  He  held  the  office  of  Constable  and 
afterwards  Justice  of  the  Peace.  When  township  organization  was 
adopted,  he  represented  Amboy  as  its  first  Supervisor.  About  1850  he 
bought  out  the  dry  goods  and  grocery  store  of  Wasson  &  Crocker  at  Bing- 
hampton.  Soon  afterwards  he  was  appointed  postmaster;  the  office  was 
kept  in  the  store.  Mr.  Searles  died  in  May  29th,  1857,  and  his  wife  fol- 
lowed him  the  next  year,  January  12,  1858.  Mrs.  Searles  was  blessed  with 
an  amiable  disposition  and  she  had  the  spirit  of  a  true  Christian.  She 
spoke  ill  of  no  one.  Eugenia  Searles,  the  daughter,  now  Mrs.  Booth,  re- 
sides in  Chicago. 


Addison  Brewer  was  married  to  Miss  Maria  Adams,  daughter  of  Mr. 
Orres  and  Mrs.  Mehitable  Adams,  in  Milford,  Otsego  County,  New  York, 
in  1844,  and  arrived  here  in  the  spring  of  1845.  He  bought  the  160  acres 

—  127  — 


in  Section  12,  which  is  now  owned  by  Mr.  Josiah  Little.  Henry  Adams, 
who  drove  breaking  plow  fur  Mr.  Brewer,  bare-footed,  says  that  the  kill- 
ing of  a  rattlesnake  was  almost  a  daily  occurence.  Mr.  Brewer  was  the 
first  town  collector  of  Amboy.  His  widow  is  now  the  wife  of  T.D.  Yocum 
and  resides  in  Amboy.  Of  her  hospitable  home  and  generous  traits,  her 
friends  are  not  weary  of  telling.  Her  only  son,  Harlan  L.  Brewer,  en- 
listed, when  only  sixteen  years  of  age,  in  the  12th  Illinois  Infantry  and 
served  through  the  war.  He  now  resides  in  Rock  Falls. 

Mrs.  Yocum  can  tell  of  many  of  the  hardships  of  pioneer  life  and  of 
the  kindly  ministrations  of  the  pioneers  to  each  other  which  brightened 
the  dark  days,  when  both  herself  and  husband  were  sick,  yet  obliged  to 
work,  he  fainting  away  over  the  wood  he  was  sawing. 

J.  Henry  Adams,  son  of  Mr.  Orres  and  Mrs.  Mehitable  Adams,  came 
here  with  his  parents  in  1844,  at  the  age  of  eleven  years.  He  worked  on 
the  farm  and  attended  school,  improving  such  educational  advantages  as 
he  had  at  that  time.  He  lived  near  the  Wasson  school  house,  which  was 
a  central  location  then.  Mr.  Adams  relates,  from  his  great  memory, 
pleasing  incidents  of  "Uncle  Ben  Wasson"  and  others.  Robert G.  Inger- 
soll,  then  a  neighbor,  was  a  playmate,  who,  with  his  father,  then  a 
preacher  here,  is  elsewhere  mentioned  in  these  sketches.  Mr.  Adams 
has  always  remained  in  Amboy,  taking  care  of  his  parents,  who  lived  to 
a  good  old  age.  He  married  Miss  Catherine  M.  Crafts  of  New  York,  for- 
merly a  teacher,  and  who  is  a  relative  of  the  present  Speaker  of  the 
House  by  that  name  at  Springfield,  Illinois. 

Although  living  on  his  farm  a  short  distance  from  this  city,  Mr. 
Adams  finds  time  to  "follow  the  bent  of  his  genius."  and  engage,  more  or 
less,  in  work  for  the  press  of  Lee  County,  with  which  he  has  been  con- 
nected in  different  ways  for  many  years.  He  was  correspondent  for  the 
Dkcon  Telegraph  six  years,  and  was  three  years  local  editor  with  Wm.  H 
Haskell.  He,  with  Wm.  M.  Geddes,  established  The,  Amboy  News,  and 
they  continued  together  in  its  publication  five  years.  He  was  associated 
one  year  with  Capt.  Wm.  Parker,  of  the  Eock  Falls  News.  Mr.  Adams 
sold  out  his  interest  to  W.  M.  Geddes;  was  afterwards  local  editor  for  Dr. 
Loomis.  Perhaps  no  man  in  town  has  a  more  extensive  acquaintance, 
both  from  his  long  residence  here  and  from  his  public  duties,  which  have 
brought  him  in  contact  with  many.  His  kind  and  genial  disposition, 
making  him  ever  ready  to  confer  a  favor,  has  won  him  many  friends.  In 
the  collection  of  reminiscences  for  these  days,  he  has  been  of  thegreatest 
service,  and  has  placed  the  descendants  of  the  pioneers,  and  all  who  may 

—  128  — 


MR.  J.    HENRY  ADAMS. 


MRS.  J.  HENRY  ADAMS. 


treasure  these  records  of  the  past  in  after  years,  under  perpetual  obliga- 
tion, much  being  preserved  which,  but  for  his  untiring  assistance,  must 
have  been  lost  beyond  recall. 

A  fellow  laborer  and  friend,  Mr.  William  Keho,  of  the  Journal  Office, 
pays  him  this  tribute: 

"As  a  general  man  upon  a  country  weekly  and  as  a  newsgatherer,  Mr. 
Adams  had  but  few  equals  and  no  superiors.  With  an  experience  of 
eighteen  years,  a  wide  acquaintance,  and  possessing  that  peculiar  faculty 
of  separating  the  wheat  from  the  chaff,  he  is  able,  at  all  times,  to  pre- 
sent the  news  to  his  readers  in  a  bright,  crisp  manner.  He  has  been 
associated  with  different  papers  as  correspondent,  served  for  years  as 
local  editor  upon  the  Amboy  Journal  and  Amboy  News,  at  one  time  own- 
ing a  half  interest  in  the  latter;  at  no  time  posing  as  a  bright  star  in  the 
literary  field,  still,  his  quiet,  unassuming  ways  have  won  for  hiru  hosts  of 
friends  who  are  grateful  for  the  words  of  consolation  and  solace  to  the 
bereaved,  encouragement  to  the  disheartened,  and  the  well  wishes  to 
those  starting  afresh  with  brightened  prospects.  He  is  gifted  with  a 
wonderful  memory,  and  having  lived  during  a  period  when  matters  of 
local  historical  importance  transpired,  he  possesses  a  wealth  of  informa- 
tion which  should  be  recorded  and  placed  to  his  credit,  that  generations 
to  come  may  know  the  true  worth  of  the  man  whose  presence  we  now 
enjoy." 

It  was  a  matter  of  general  regret  when  Mr.  Adams  closed  his  regular 
work  with  the  News  and  Journal,  and  readers  and  subscribers  for  those 
papers  felt  that  they  had  met  with  a  personal  loss.  His  gentle  compan- 
ion seems  always  imbued  with  the  same  unassuming  desire  for  being  use- 
ful to  every  one,  and  is  ever  interested  in  Mr.  Adam's  pursuits.  The  re- 
fining influence  of  her  presence  is  evident  in  her  home  and  family.  She 
has  set  her  life  to  his  "Like  perfect  music  unto  noble  words."  Theirchil- 
dren  are  Lulu,  Leo  M.,  Jessie,  Kate  and  Harry. 


e    Le\Vn,s   F  30221 1^/. 


HAS  BEEN  a  marked  family  in  this  county  since  Nathaniel  Lewis, 
wife  and  children,  emigrated  to  this  place,  and  took  up  their 
abode  on  Temperance  Hill  in  1843.  They  were  the  same  who,  in 
company  with  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Isaac  Hale,  emigrated  from  Vermont  to 
Pennsylvania  in  1790.  There,  for  more  than  fifty  years  they  lived,  and 
when  again  they  took  up  pioneer  life,  they  were  the  parents  of  twelve 
children,  all  living — six  sons  and  six  daughters.  Mrs.  Lewis  was  a  sister 
of  Isaac  Hale,  and  sister-in-law  of  Charles  Pickering,  M.  D.,  a  grandson 
of  Hon.  Timothy  Pickering,  of  revolutionary  fame,  whose  names  are  re- 
corded with  honor  in  Johnson's  cyclopaedia.  Of  their  children,  the  younger 
ones  came  with  them,  the  older  following  with  their  families  a  year  or 
two  later.  Their  names  wereLevi,  Nathaniel,  Timothy  P.,  Joseph,  Hiel, 
Miles,  Esther,  Elizabeth,  Sarah,  Ann,  Lurena  and  Olive.  The  four  young- 
est brothers  settled  in  this  vicinity  and  assisted  in  the  organization  of 
this  township. 

Levi,  the  oldest  son,  left  four  children;  Joseph,  a  minister  of  the  U. 
B  church,  and  Reuben,  and  two  daughters,  Phila  A.  (Mrs.  Peter  Maine) 
arid  Mrs.  M.  L.  Virgil.  All  settled  in  Amboy  and  are  still  living. 

Nathaniel's  children  were  Mary,  Julia  Ann,  Addison,  Zebulon,  Louisa, 
Ira,  Anthony,  Milinda  and  Sarah.  This  family  left  Amboy. 

Timothy  P.  had  one  son,  Charles,  and  two  daughters,  Lurena  and 
Eliza. 

Joseph  married  Miss  Rachel  Cargill,  of  Cheshire  county,  New  Hamp- 
shire, and  came  here  from  Pennsylvania  in  1845  with  five  children,  all  of 
whom  are  now  dead.  Their  names  were  Gaylord  J.,  James  C.,  John, 
Andrew  J.  and  Electa  Jane.  Joseph  Ellis  was  born  in  Amboy. 

Hiel  had  Ira  W.  (now  Circuit  Clerk),  Orin,  Percy  Irwin  and  Dayton, 
and  one  daughter  who  married  Win.  Dresser. 

Miles  had  two  sons  and  three  daughters:  Everett  and  Robert,  Alice. 
Alpha  and  Elizabeth. 

Sarah  married  Sabin  Trowbridge  arid  lived  in  Lee  Center.  She  had 
two  daughters  and  one  son.  He  starved  in  Andersonville  prison. 

—  134  — 


Ann  married  Austin  B.  Trowbridge  and  had  five  children. 

Lurena  married  Augustus  Trowbridge. 

Olive  married  A.  G.  Skinner  and  had  children. 

It  would  require  far  more  space  than  we  have  here  to  record  the  brav- 
ery and  patriotism  of  the  descendants  of  Nathaniel  Lewis.  There  were 
twelve  of  them  in  the  Union  army  at  one  time.  Three  died  in  Ander- 
sonville  prison,  none  of  them  knowing  the  presence  of  the  others.  Three 
sons  of  Joseph,  brothers  of  our  post  master,  J.  E.  Lewis,  gave  up  their 
young  lives  to  their  country.  Their  mother,  Mrs.  Rachel  Lewis,  now  liv- 
ing here  with  her  son,  J.  E..  still  mentally  gifted  though  eighty-seven 
years  of  age,  has  related  some  of  the  events  of  her  pioneer  life  which  are 
treasured  in  this  article.  Could  the  reader  have  heard  the  stately,  noble 
looking  old  lady  relate  her  pioneer  history  with  the  beautiful,  kindly 
smile,  as  if  it  was  but  a  dream  which  she  was  telling  for  the  pleasure  of 
her  hearers,  the  contrast  between  that  and  these  written  pages  would 
make  them  dim  indeed;  for  the  wondrous  smile  told  of  the  dissolving 
toils  of  earth  and  the  sweet  peace  beyond. 

They  with  their  five  children,  Timothy  P.  and  family,  Miles  and  family 
and  their  sister  Elizabeth  -Mrs.  Hezekiah  McKune — and  family,  and  two 
young  men,  came  together  from  Pennsylvania  to  Illinois.  They  had  con- 
structed a  flat-boat  and  on  this  they  all  took  passage  up  the  Delaware 
River  to  Binghampton,  New  York,  where  they  sold  the  boat  and  came  by 
canal  to  Buffalo,  and  from  there  by  steamboat  to  Chicago.  They  reached 
Chicago  Saturday  night,  and  Sunday  morning  employes  from  the  differ- 
ent public  houses  flocked  to  the  boat  to  secure  the  passengers.  "The 
Great  Western"  hotel  had  just  been  completed  and  to  this  our  company 
came.  Here  from  the  window  of  her  room  Mrs.  Lewis  looked  out  upon  a 
vast  and  seemingly  unlimited  prairie,  with  scarcely  an  object  in  view. 
With  her  little  daughter,  Electa,  brought  all  the  long  way  in  her  arms, 
she  remained  at  the  hotel,  taking  care  of  her  own  and  theotherchildren, 
while  other  members  of  the  party  were  preparing  for  the  toilsome  journey 
in  the  ox-carts  and  wagons  across  the  country  to  Palestine  Grove.  After 
the  usual  fashion  of  camping  out  by  night  and  alternately  riding  and 
walking  by  clay,  they  at  last  reached  the  Inlet  where  they  met  John  Dex- 
ter, who,  having  recently  lost  his  wife,  offered-  them  the  use  of  his  cabin 
until  they  could  be  otherwise  provided  for;  himself  and  children  still  re- 
maining there.  They  were  soon  stricken  with  fever  and  ague,  which  no 
one  seemed  to  think  at  all  alarming,  though  they  suffered  greatly  from 
it.  Everyone  had  it,  and  seemed  to  take  it  as  a  matter  of  course. 

In  the  fall  they  moved  to  a  house  which  stood  vacant,  on  the  Chicago 

—  135  — 


road,  just  beyond  the  house  built  some  years  ago  by  Captain  Pratt,  and 
on  the  opposite  side  of  the  road.  Some  of  the  family  were  carried  on  beds, 
some  could  hardly  sit  up  through  the  long,  hard  ride,  so  it  was  a  cheerless 
and  difficult  "moving."  But  they  found  very  kind  neighbors,  and  Mrs. 
Lewis  says  she  doesn't  know  how  they  could  have  lived  through  the  winter, 
had  it  not  been  for  them — Mrs.  Davis,  a  daughter  of  the  man  who  owned 
the  place,  the  family  of  Solomon  Parker,  who  lived  on  the  Peru  road,  and 
Mr.  Campbell,  then  sheriff,  who  lived  on  what  is  still  called  the  "Camp- 
bell Place,"  just  beyond  the  North  -  Western  railroad  crossing 
on  the  Chicago  road.  His  wife  and  daughter  came  almost  every  day  to 
see  them,  prepare  food  and  try  to  make  them  comfortable.  Sometimes 
only  one  of  the  family  would  be  able  to  be  out  of  bed,  and  not  infrequent- 
ly, they  could  only  creep  out  of  bed,  fix  the  flre,  or  make  a  kettle  of  hasty- 
pudding,  and  get  back  again,  weak  and  shivering. 

Dr.  Gardner  lived  near,  and  his  visits  gave  them  hope,  and  he  was  wel- 
comed with  joy.  Sometimes  Mrs.  Gardner  visited  them,  carrying  broth 
or  gruel,  or  helping  to  make  the  beds  and  sweep.  One  time  Gaylord 
cried  because  he  "  couldn't  eat  any  more  "  of  her  gruel  "  it  was  so  good." 
Any  one  who  ever  had  the  ague,  would  know  the  fierce  hunger  that  fol- 
lows the  chill  and  the  burning  fever,  and  appreciate  the  child's  tears. 

There  was  no  water  within  a  half  a  mile,  and  the  little  boys  had  to  go 
between  chills  to  get  it.  This  was  no  light  task  in  that  long,  cold  winter, 
and  they  finally  rigged  up  a  sled,  or  broad,  boat-like  arrangement  on 
which  they  could  draw  a  barrel.  To  this  they  hitched  a  young  steer, 
borrowed  of  a  neighbor.  The  frisky  team  made  then  a  good  deal  of 
trouble,  and  costf  them  some  tears  and  trials,  with  runaways  and  upsets, 
but  they  persevered,  and  succeeded  at  last  in  getting  a  good  supply  of 
water  with  comparatively  small  labor. 

While  the  family  were  all  sick,  and  in  the  coldest  of  that  long-to-be- 
remernbered  "hard  winter,"  the  baby  died;  the  only  little  daughter,  Electa 
(for  whom  her  little  niece,  the  daughter  of  James  Lewis  and  his  wife, 
Lucy  Burnham  Lewis,  was  named,  many  years  after).  The  father  was 
very  dangerously  sick,  the  mother  hardly  able  to  sit  up.  The  daughter 
of  a  neighbor,  Miss  Hankerson,  came  in,  just  as  the  dear  little  girl  lay 
dying,  took  her  in  her  arms* and  held  her  till  all  was  over.  Then  she 
gently  robed  the  little  body  for  its  last  rest  and  laid  it  in  the  upper  drawer 
of  the  old  fashioned  bureau.  A  Mr.  Ferguson  made  the  little  coffin  of 
plain  wood,  without  paint  or  stain  or  covering  of  cloth,  and  Mrs.  Lewis 
says:  "1  shall  never  forget  how  I  felt  to  see  my  baby  laid  in  that  cold, 
hard  box."  Only  one  boy,  Gaylord,  was  able  to  sit  up  during  the  simple 

—  136  — 


funeral  services.    The  father  lay  unconscious,   and  it  was  six  months 
before  any  one  of  them   could  visit  the  spot  where  the  baby  was  buried. 

Then,  the  spring  had  come.  They  had  spent  nine  months  at  South 
Dixon,  had  passed  through  experiences  which  forever  after  leave  a  differ- 
ent light  on  all  the  world,  and  with  sadness  and  in  gladness  they  returned 
to  Amboy  and  located  on  the  farm  which  had  been  vacated  by  James 
Doan.  Here  they  still  found  many  of  the  "hardships  of  pioneer  life"  yet 
they  were  prospered  and  beloved.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Lewis  were  members  of 
the  Methodist  Episcopal  church,  he  being  steward,  trustee  and  class 
leader,  sometimes  holding  all  the  offices  at  one  time. 

The  oldest  son,  Gaylord,  whose  youthful  ambition  was  aroused  with 
the  cry  of  "Ho  for  California^  followed  the  example  of  Josiah  Davis,  James 
Doan,  Benjamin  Wasson  and  son,  and  others  from  this  vicinity,  and  went 
from  here  in  company  with  two  others  with  ox  teams.  He  passed  through 
"hair-breadth  'scapes,"  but  reached  there  in  safety  and  did  well.  He 
was  not  a  miner,  but  captain  of  a  supply  train,  riding  his  white  mule  at 
the  head  of  a  line  of  pack-mules,  the  six  days'  rough  journey  from  San 
Francisco  to  the  mines.  Those  were  hard,  rough  times,  but  he  wrote 
cheerfully,  and  hoped  to  help  his  parents  a  great  deal.  In  August  he 
had  seven  hundred  dollars  ready  to  send  them,  when  he  went  to  San 
Francisco  the  next  time,  but  he  spoke  of  Indian  trouble  with  some  ap- 
prehension. That  was  the  last  they  ever  heard  from  him;  though  after  a 
long  time  they  learned  that  a  large  company  were  killed  by  the  Indians 
in  a  canyon,  and  they  feared  that  he  might  have  been  one  of  the  number. 
Hope  was  abandoned  by  all  but  his  mother,  who  says:  "He  was  nineteen 
years  old  then,  he  would  have  been  fifty-nine  now,  and  all  these  years  I 
have  lived  in  suspense,  hoping  against  hope,  that  I  might,  at  least,  learn 
his  fate." 

Then  came  the  cruel  war,  and  when  President  Lincoln's  call  for  75,000 
men  reached  Amboy.  and  the  Lewis  boys  heard  the  summons,  and  en- 
listed, their  parents  gave  them  up  like  the  Spartans  of  old;  and  there  is 
something  now  in  the  stately  mien  of  that  widowed  and  aged  mother, 
that  makes  one  doubt  not  that  she  would  not  hesitate,  yet,  to  sacrifice 
those  dearer  then  her  own  life,  in  a  sacred  cause.  James  C.  volunteered 
in  Company  I,  89th  Illinois  Volunteers,  was  wounded  May  9,  1864,  and 
died  at  Chattanooga,  July  23d.  John  enlisted  in  Company  G,  39th  Illinois 
Volunteers,  (Yates  Phalanx)  August  20,  1861,  served  under  McClellan, 
and  Shields,  and  in  January,  1863,  came  home  to  die  within  the  year, 
November  29,  1864,  from  disease  contracted  by  exposure  in  the  army. 
Andrew  J.  enlisted  in  Company  G,  (Yates'  Phalanx),  August  2,  1861,  and 

—  137  — 


died  at  Foley  Island,  Charleston  harbor,  July  4,  1863.  The  only  son,  or 
child,  left  was  too  young  to  go. 

On  January  15,  1882,  the  aged  couple  celebrated  their  golden  wedding, 
and  that  day  was  the  last  that  Mr.  Lewis  was  able  to  walk  out.  He  died 
a  few  months  later,  in  the  early  spring. 

Only  for  lack  of  time  and  space  many  interesting  reminiscenses  for 
this  work  might  be  gathered  from  this  pioneer  mother  whose  memory  is 
remarkable.  Her  little  granddaughter,  who  resembles  her,  said  to-day: 
"The  bureau  that  grandma's  little  girl  was  laid  out  in,  is  up  in  her  room 
now." 

With  tender  reverence  we  leave  her,  surrounded  by  her  loved  ones, 
and  the  mementoes  of  those  gone  before. 

May  a  rich  "  Harvest  Gathering  of  the  Heart"  await  her  in  the  Beau- 
tiful Land. 


A.  D.  Smith  was  born  in  Ithica,  New  York,  September  11,  1821.  In 
1843  he  came  to  Lee  Center  intending  to  practice  medicine,  but  as  the 
people  of  those  early  days  were  more  ready  to  invest  their  all  in  land  in 
lieu  of  pills  and  powders,  he  joined  the  mass  and  purchased  a  great  amount 
of  land.  In  1854,  despairing  of  a  railroad,  he  sold  out  for  a  pittance  and 
returned  east.  The  next  year  the  railroad  was  laid  out,  and  land  rose 
beyond  all  precedent.  In  March,  1855,  he  was  married  at  the  residence 
of  his  brother,  Dr.  N.  W.  Smith,  of  Wilmington,  Vermont,  to  Harriet  W. 
White,  of  Erving,  Massachusetts.  After  traveling  through  Vermont, 
Massachusetts  and  New  York,  he  came  to  New  Boston,  Illinois,  the  fol- 
lowing October,  where  he  remained  for  three  and  a  half  yjears.  He  then 
came  to  Lee  county,  where  he  resided  until  his  decease,  which  occurred 
in  Amboy,  January  9,  1886,  having  been  crippled,  and  in. poor  health  for 
twenty-five  years.  In  his  last,  lingering  illness,  his  mind  often  reverted 
to  the  old  pioneer  friends  and  the  trials  they  had  shared  together.  When 
hauling  grain  to  Chicago  they  would  camp  out,  sleeping  under  their 
wagons,  as  hotel  fare  would  have  cost  the  price  of  their  loads.  He  and 
Deacon  Jonathan  Peterson  and  Joseph  Eddy  were  the  only  Republicans 
in  Lee  Center  and  vicinity,  to  call  a  caucus,  when  a  gang  of  roughs  at- 
tempted to  break  up  the  meeting;  but  he  and  Mr.  Eddy  went  out  and 
soon  restored  order  among  the  belligerauts.  So  from  small  beginnings 
mighty  revolutions  are  wrought. 

Mr.  Smith  left  a  wife,  five  sons  and  one  daughter,  his  oldest  married 
daughter  having  preceded  him  eleven  months  to  the  spirit  laud.  His 
oldest  son,  Oren  E.-  settled  in  Wendell,  Kansas,  Newman  W.  on  the 

—  138  — 


home  farm,  Fannie  Jane  married  in  Chicago,  Abram  L,  in  Lee  county, 
George  A.  resides  with  his  mother  in  Amboy,  John  E.  E.  is  a  resident  of 
Amboy. 

It  is  not  undue  commendation  to  say  of  Mrs.  Smith,  who  was  an  edu- 
cated teacher  in  New  England,  that  she  is  one  who  would  justly  remind 
one  of  the  words — 

"  Full  many  a  gem  of  purest  ray  serene 

The  dark  unfathomed  caves  of  ocean  bear; 
Full  many  a  flower  is  born  to  blush  unseen 

And  waste  its  sweetness  on  the  desert  air." 

And  yet  her  excellences  are  not  wasted  or  lost  but  garnered  up  in  the 
hearts  of  loving  friends,  a  most  devoted  son,  and  in  the  archives  of 
eternity. 


John  H.  Gardner  came  west  in  1844,  with  his  wife  and  three  children, 
from  Steuben  county,  New  York,  and  bought  of  Ransom  Barnes  the  farm 
in  this  township  now  owned  by  Sylvester  Chamberlin.  Mr.  Gardner  sold 
it  to  Isaac  Gage  and  bought  where  his  son  John  M.  now  lives  in  Lee 
Center.  While  still  a  young  man  he  buried  his  wife,  and  was  left  with 
five  children,  one  an  infant,  five  days  old.  Mrs.  Gardner  died  November 
19, 1849,  aged  32  years.  He  struggled  on  and  in  due  time  secured  a  reward 
for  his  labors  and  privations  in  a  fine  competency,  after  giving  his  chil- 
dren many  advantages. 

The  oldest  child,  Robert  M.  Gardner,  was  born  August  7,  1839,  and 
died  June  26,  1860.  John  M.,  the  second  son,  lives  on  the  old  homestead 
in  Lee  Center.  He  is  a  useful  and  reliable  man,  well  read  on  all  subjects, 
trusted  and  depended  upon  by  all  who  know  him;  has  been  supervisor  in 
his  town  for  years — married  Miss  Alice  L.  Clapp.  Lucy  E.  Gardner  is  a 
valued  resident  of  Amboy.  Nancy  E.  married  Thomas  Houghton.  They 
have  one  daughter,  Lucy  Emma,  educated  at  Rockford  Seminary.  Mr. 
Houghton  is  freight  agent  at  the  Illinois  Central  railway  station,  and 
never  fails  to  look  after  the  interests  of  the  company  as  if  they  were  his 
own;  is  faithful  in  all  his  duties,  in  small  as  well  as  in  large  things.  He 
was  a  soldier  in  the  late  war,  and  was  wounded  for  life.  Emma  L.  married 
Henry  C.  Bond  and  lives  in  South  Bend,  Indiana.  Malvina  married  Henry 
Maynard  and  lives  in  Harvey,  Illinois. 

Mr.  Gardner  died  September  11,  1871,  aged  62  years.  He  was  a  singu- 
larly straightforward  man,  owed  no  man  anything  and  "his  word  was  as 
good  as  his  bond."  His  children  are  proud  of  his  memory.  He  would  be 
proud  of  his  children  were  he  living. 

—  139  — 


It  is  impossible  to  make  as  extended  mention  as  the  subject  deserves 
of  Martin  Wright,  one  of  the  early  settlers  of  what  is  now  Amboy  town- 
ship but  so  near  Lee  Center  that  his  interests  have  always  been  more 
closely  connected  with  the  latter  place.  Mr.  Wright  was  a  typical  New 
Englander,  firm  in  principle,  upright  in  life,  and  unflinching  in  adherence 
to  duty.  We  have  not  been  able  to  learn  at  what  time  he  came  west,  but 
know  that  he  was  one  of  those  who  aided  in  establishing  the  Congrega- 
tional church,  and  the  Academy  in  Lee  Center,  being  one  of  the  first,  if 
not  the  very  first  of  its  Trustees.  His  first  wife  was  a  daughter  of  Dea- 
con Ransom  Barnes,  and  died  in  the  summer  of  1860,  leaving  a  daughter, 
Helen,  now  the  wife  of  Curtis  C.  Hale  and  residing  in  Iowa.  His  second 
wife  was  Miss  Eliza  Clapp  and  she  survives  him.  His  pleasant  home  was 
swept  away  by  the  terrible  tornado  of  1860,  but  he  rebuilt  on  the  same 
spot,  and  livpd  there  until  his  death  about  ten  years  since.  It  is  now  the 
home  of  Mr.  Sylvester  Clapp. 


IN  or  near  the  year  1845  David  and  Jesse  Hale,  brothers  of  Mrs.  Wasson, 
came  to  Temperance  Hill;  a  younger  brother,  Alva,  following  in  the 
fall  of  1845.  Jesse  and  Alva  had  adjoining  farms,  now  owned  by  Rus- 
sell Leak.  David  married  Rhoda  Skinner.  Their  children  were  Au- 
rilla,  Ira,  Chester,  Priscilla,  Betsy  and  Rhoda  Jane.  Mr.  Hale  was  noted 
for  his  integrity.  He  and  his  brother  Jesse  were  soldiers  in  the  war  of 
1812.  He  died  April  16,  1878;  Mrs.  Hale  Oct.  15,  1874. 

Jesse  Hale  married  Mary  McKune.  Their  children  were  Silas,  Julius, 
Charles,  Franklin,  Tyler,  Robert,  Tamar,  Anna,  Elizabeth  and  Hester. 
Mrs.  Hale  was  the  beloved  "Aunt  Polly  Hale"  of  all  the  neighbors  far 
and  near;  the  friend  in  sickness  and  sorrow  as  well  as  in  joy,  and  a  de- 
voted wife  and  mother.  She  brought  the  seeds  of  flowers  and  herbs  from 
her  old  home  and  shared  them  with  her  friends,  and  made  the  herbs  use- 
ful to  the  suffering  pioneers.  Three  of  her  sons  gave  their  lives  to  their 
country.  Frank,  lieutenant  in  the  12th  Illinois,  was  killed  at  Corinth. 
Tyler,  a  captain  in  the  same  regiment,  was  killed  at  Fort  Donelson. 
Capt.  Robert,  of  the  75th  Illinois,  was  killed  in  July,  1865,  while  on  duty 
for  a  sick  officer  whose  place  he  volunteered  to  fill.  Elizabeth,  the  only 
surviving  daughter,  who  lives  in  Missouri,  is  remembered  still  by  her  old 
neighbors  with  gratitude  and  affection. 

Alva  married  Clara  Rouse  and  lived  in  Sublette.  Children:  Oliver, 
Jesse,  William,  Stalira,  Lydia,  Betsy  and  Eunice.  Two  sons  were  in  the 
army — viz.,  William,  sergeant  in  Co.  C.,  13th  Illinois  Volunteers,  and 
Jesse  in  89th  Illinois.  William  served  several  years  and  was  wounded. 
He  is  well  known  in  Amboy,  is  a  prominent  member  of  the  Episcopal 
Church,  a  kind  neighbor,  and  has  been,  for  many  years,  a  faithful  and 
efficient  conductor  on  the  I.  C.  R.  R. 

Mr.  Alva  Hale  died  April  18th,  1882— his  wife  the  llth  of  January, 
1880.  He  was  a  genial  man  and  never  sick  until  the  sickness  preceding 
his  death.  He  possessed  remarkable  energy  in  his  old  age.  Sept.  30th, 
1871,  he,  with  his  brother  David,  started  for  Missouri  to  visit  a  brother. 

—  141  — 


On  returning,  David  proceeded  to  Nauvoo  to  visit  his  sister  Emma, 
while  Alva  came  directly  home.  Arriving  at  Mendota  and  the  train  for 
Sublette  not  being  due,  he  started  home  with  satchel  and  gun,  walking 
all  the  distance  without  apparent  fatigue. 


There  were  three  brothers  and  three  sisters  of  the  Hale  family  living 
in  this  vicinity,  all  greatly  respected.  Alva,  Jesse  and  David  Hale, 
and  Mrs.  Benjamin  Wasson,  Mrs.  Morse  and  Mrs.  Joseph  Smith; 
the  latter  not  a  resident  of  Lee  county.  The  following  extract  from  an 
article  written  by  Mr.  David  Hale,  and  published  in  one  of  the  Amboy 
papers,  May,  1876,  is  worthy  of  presivation. 

I,  David  Hale,  was  born  March  6,  1794,  in  what  is  now  Oakland,  on 
the  Great  Bend  of  the  Susquehanna  River,  near  where  the  Susquehanna 
depot  is  now  built,  on  the  New  York  railroad,  Susquehanna  county,  Pa. 
First  settler,  my  father,  Isaac  Hale,  with  my  Uncle  Nathaniel  Lewis  and 
their  wives  emigrated  from  Vermont  to  Pennsylvania  in  1790. 

I  joined  the  Methodist  Episcopal  church  at  the  age  of  seventeen  years. 
I  was  enrolled  in  the  Pennsylvania  malitia  at  the  age  of  eighteen.  In 
1812  I  was  a  drafted  malitia  man;  in  1814  joined  Col.  Daniel  Montgomery's 
regiment  that  was  ordered  to  march  and  defend  Baltimore;  but  we  met 
an  express  with  orders  for  Col.  Montgomery  to  discharge  his  men,  which 
he  did;  peace  soon  followed. 

In  1823, 1  married  Rhoda  Skinner;  my  age  twenty-nine  years  and  hers 
nineteen.  We  had  two  sons  and  three  daughters.  We  moved  to  Lee 
county,  Illinois,  in  1847.  During  the  summer  of  1847  we  lived  with 
brother  Jesse  Hale,  in  the  Temperance  Hill  settlement,  where  we  found 
Uncle  Nathaniel  Lewis  and  wife  (who  emigrated  with  my  father  and 
mother  from  Vermont  to  Pennsylvania  in  1790),  with  all  his  family  except 
Nathaniel  C.,  who  came  after  awhile,  viz:  Six  sons  and  six  daughters: 
while  my  father's  family  numbered  six  sons  and  four  daughters.  Brother 
Alva  Hale  was  here  with  his  family  of  three  sons  and  four  daughters, 
My  wife's  brother,  AlpheusG.  Skinner,  was  there  with  his  family  of  three 
sons  and  three  daughters.  Between  Temperance  Hill  and  Rocky  Ford 
lived  Francis  Northway  and  family  and  Elder  Joseph  Gardner  and  family: 
next  Reuben  Bridgman  and  family;  next  Curtis  Bridgman  and  family; 
next  John  C.  Church  and  family;  next  Cyrus  Davis  and  family;  next  Jo- 
seph Farwell  and  family;  next  Joel  Davis  and  family;  next  Joseph  Apple- 
ton  and  family;  next  Shelburn;  Frederick  R.  Dutcher  and  family,  with 
Widow  Hook  and  her  sons,  John  and  Aaron  and  their  families.  On  the 
Crombie  Lane  lived  Lyman  Bixby,  Wilder  Crombie,  Samuel  Bixby,  David 

—  142  — 


Searles,  Moses  Crombie;  west  of  the  lane  lived  Orres  Adams;  Lorenzo 
Wasson's  farm,  a  quarter  of  a  section;  west  of  this  Benjamin  Wasson. 
father  of  Lorenzo,  owned  a  quarter  section  with  good  house  and  barn  and 
the  land  well  improved.  At  Binghampton  I  found  two  old  acquaint- 
ances, Col.  Badger  and  Asa  B.  Searles,  for  over  fifty  years  ago  we  were 
pilots  on  the  Susquehanna  River.  At  Inlet  lived  Esquire  Haskell,  who 
kept  a  store  and  the  postottice.  East  of  Palestine  Grove  lived  Dr.  R.  F. 
Adams  and  C.  F.  Ingals,  well  known  in  the  timeof  the  Grove  Association 
for  the  protection  of  claims.  But  after  awhile  this  passed  away  and  the 
township  organizations  came  tip,  of  which  some  abler  pen  than  mine  may 
or  can  write. 

Had  Mr.  Hale  passed  on  one  mad  further  west  he  would  have  men- 
tioned Mr.  Seth  Holmes,  Mr.  Elijah  Hill  and  Mr.  Warren  Hill,  all  excel- 
lent citizens  who,  with  their  families,  were  a  benefit  to  the  town. 

Mr.  Holmes  had  seven  children,  Mary  Jane,  wife  of  Cyrus  Bridgman, 
Demmis  H.,  wife  of  Henry  Cushing,  Isaac  A.,  James  W.,  Warren  H.,  Al- 
mira  and  Jacob  C. 

James  W.  was  one  of  the  first  volunteers  in  Co.  1,  4(5th  Illinois  Regi- 
ment. He  fought  at  Donelstwi  ami  Shiloh,  was  in  the  siege  of  Corinth 
and  the  battle  of  Hatchie  and  the  siege  of  Vicksburg,  where  he  was 
wounded  and  taken  prisoner.  He  was  discharged  Dec.  1863  on  account  of 
his  wound,  leaving  a  noble  record  as  ;i  gallant  defender  of  the  flag  of  our 
Union.  All  the  children  but  Isaac,  James,  Jacob  and  Mrs.  dishing  have 
joined  their  parents  mi  the  other  shore.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Warren  Hill,  and 
Mr.  Elijah  Hill  have  also  passed  away. 


Mr.  Moses  Cromhie  was  born  in  Cheshire  County,  New  Hampshire,  in 
1804,  was  married  to  Miss  Louisa  Morse,  a  native  of  the  same  state,  in 
1828,  and  moved  to  Lee  County  in  1837.  While  living  here  he  was  one  of 
those  engaged  in  work  on  the  first  plows  manufactured  in  Lee  County. 
His  home  was  where  Mr.  William  Acker  now  lives,  his  brother,  Wilder 
Crombie,  living  on  the  same  road,  which  ever  since  has  borne  the  name 
of  Crombie  Lane.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Crombie  were  useful  citizens,  and  their 
memory  will  live  as  the  generations  pass  away.  Mrs.  Crombie  opened  a 
school  in  her  house  before  any  school  house  was  built,  and  "was  like  a 
mother"'  to  her  pupils,  who  remember  her  with  affection.  Among  her 
scholars  were  Roxy  Wasson  (afterwards  Mrs.  Simon  Badger),  Warren 
Wasson,  Lewis  Bridgman,  Sally  Bridgman,  Emily  Bridgman,  Sarah 
and  Rowena  Badger,  Mary  .and  Clara  Frisbee,  her  own  sons,  Thaddeus 
and  John,  and  two  little  girls,  Delilah  and  Rhoda  (last  name  forgotten.) 

—  143  — 


The  little  Frisbee  girls  were  carried  to  school  every  Monday  morning  and 
sent  for  Friday  night.  Mrs.  Frisbee  sent  with  them  a  basket  of  roast 
chicken,  doughnuts,  pies,  etc.,  and  they  sat  at  the  table  with  the  family 
through  the  week,  exchanging  the  good  things  of  life  and  partaking  of 
Mrs.  Crombie's  warm  food  with  her  children.  Mrs.  Clara  (Frisbee)  Davis 
speaks  now  with  enthusiasm  of  Mrs.  Crombie's  motherly  care;  of  the 
kindness,  friendship,  and  hospitality  among  the  people;  of  the  good  they 
were  ever  doing  each  other  without  money,  if  not  always  without  price. 

Mrs.  Crombie  taught  every  useful  thing  to  her  little  flock,  not  neglect- 
ing knitting  and  sewing.  Among  the  books  used  were  Webster's  Ele- 
mentary Spelling  Book,  Olney's  Geography,  History  of  the  United  States, 
Common  Arithmetic  and  Grammar.  But  few  as  charming  reminiscences 
have  been  related  as  those  of  Mrs.  Crombie's  home  school  for  her  own 
and  her  neighbor's  children,  before  "the  first  log  school  house"  was  built 
in  1839. 

At  this  same  home,  on  July  5th,  1843,  the  first  religious  society  here 
was  organized,  called  "The  Congregational  Church  of  Palestine  Grove." 
Mr.  Crombie  was  chosen  one  of  the  deacons.  The  first  minister  was  Rev. 
John  Morrell,  the  second  Rev.  John  Ingersoll,  father  of  Robert  G.,  the 
third  Rev.  Joseph  Gardner. 


Samuel  L.  Pyle  came  to  Amboy  from  New  Jersey  in  1845,  and  bought 
of  the  government  160  acres  of  land  in  the  western  part  of  the  township. 
A  son-in-law,  P.  Battles,  now  owns  the  place.  "The  Wood  Hotel" 
painted  on  a  sign  in  front  of  Mr.  Pyle's  house,  brought  to  his  door  many 
farmers  who  stopped  with  him  on  their  way  to  and  from  LaSalle,  where 
they  went  to  market  their  produce. 

Through  Mrs.  Pyle's  efforts  a  Sunday  School  was  opened  at  her  home, 
where,  during  the  summer  months,  children  received  religious  instruc- 
tion. Mrs.  Pyle  was  a  most  estimable  woman.  There  was  a  large  family 
of  boys  and  girls,  all  highly  respected,  who  married,  one  after  another, 
and  moved  away.  The  old  couple  spent  their  latter  days  in  the  city  of 
Amboy. 


Samuel  Bixby  came  here  in  1844  from  Hornby,  New  York,  and  was  44 
years  old.  His  bell-crowned  white  hat  and  dialect  proclaimed  the  genu- 
ine Yankee.  He  was  born  and  reared  in  Vermont.  He  purchased  a 
claim  of  Rev.  Joseph  Gardner  and  is  still  living  on  it,  his  house  being 
on  Crombie  Lane,  while  Mr.  Gardner's  was  on  another  part  of  this  farm. 

—  144  — 


Mr.  and  Mrs.  Bixby  were  excellent  people.  They  had  four  children. 
When  they  first  came  they  united  with  the  Baptist  Church  and  be  is  now 
the  only  living  representative  of  that  early  association.  His  house  was 
the  stopping  place  for  pioneer  ministers  and  they  were  always  given  good 
cheer.  His  first  wife,  who  was  familiarly  known  to  the  neighbors  as 
"Aunt  Lucretia,"  died  many  years  ago,  but  her  good  influence  still  lives. 
Mr.  Bixby  is  enjoying  his  ripe  old  age  in  the  society  of  his  second  wife, 
who  was  formerly  Mrs.  Elijah  Hill. 
Lyman  Bixby  came  the  same  year. 


Mrs.  McKune  gives^us'the  following  story  of  her  pioneer  experiences, 
which,  written  by  one  nearly^eighty-two  years  old,  is  a  veritable  "old  set- 
tler's story."  She  says: 

"My  husband,  Hezekiah  McKune,  with  myself  and  four  children,  left 
our  native  home  in  Susquehanna,  {Pennsylvania,  June  10th,  1845.  We 
came  to  Binghampton,  New  York;  from  there  we  took  passage  on  a  canal 
boat  for  Utica,  thence  to  Buffalo,  from  there  by  steamer  to  Chicago, 
where  we  were  met  by  a  man  by  the  name  of  Peterson  from  Palestine 
Grove,  our  place  of  destination,  in  this  country. 

"Mr.  Peterson  had  two  yoke  of  oxen  and  a  wagon.  We  bad  four 
wagons,  and  purchased  a  pair  of  oxen,  and°after  four  days  travel  we 
reached  our  home,  which  we  bad  traded  for.  It  was  a  log  house  with 
lean-to  and  attic,  which  we  reached  by  climbing  on  pegs  driven  into  the 
wall.  We  could  count  stars  through  ,the  roof;  sometimes  as  many  as 
twenty  at  a  time. 

"On  our  trip  I  sometimes  got  tired  of  riding,  and  would  walk  until  a 
rattlesnake  would  buzz  across  my  path,  then  I  would  take  my  place  in 
the  wagon  again.  I  saw  one  rattlesnake  crawl  through  the  floor  of  our 
house,  it  was  a  small  one  and  I  killed  the  intruder. 

"We  had  the  usual  amount  of  sickness  and  privation  incident  to  a 
new  country.  Three  times  we  took  families  in  to  live  with  us,  of  from 
three  to  six  in  number,  who  stayed  as  many  months  apiece.  We  enter- 
tained ministers,  travelers  and  tramps,  and  as  we  were  on  the  road  from 
Dixon  to  Peru  it  was  a  convenient  stopping  place.  I  recollect  several  of 
those  early  settlers  who  used  to  call  at  our  house;  among  the  most  note- 
worthy were  Dr.  Gardner  and  Rev.  DeWolf,  as  they  were  hauling  onions 
and  other  produce  to  Peru. 

"We  had  no  great  trouble  with  wolves,  although  when  Mr.  McKune 
was  returning  one  evening  from  helping  a  neighbor  butcher,  they  came 

—  145  — 


so  close  to  him  he  could  hear  them  breathe  and  snap,  but  he  hung  on  to 
the  liver  he  was  carrying,  and  reached  home  safely  with  no  further 
trouble. 

"I  am  now  in  my  eighty-second  year   and   have  survived  my  entire 
family  except  one,  my  only  daughter,  Mrs.  Thayer." 


REMINISCENCE   FKOM   DR.    WM.    WALLACE  WELCH. 

"The  sun  was  tipping  the  western  horizon  and  I  was  starting  for  further 
west  from  the  Davis  house.  Somewhere  between  there  and  J.  B.  Apple- 
ton's,  not  far  from  where  the  Passenger  house  stood  afterwards,  and 
where  the  present  Illinois  Central  railroad  depot  now  stands,  there  was 
a  bad  slough,  a  rather  broad,  treacherous  place  to  cross  that  looked  dan- 
gerous. But  in  those  days  we  had  to  take  a  good  many  risks,  and  I 
started  in— very  unwisely  as  it  proved.  The  horse  went  in,  out  of  sight, 
all  but  his  head  and  neck.  Though  summer,  the  water  was  very  cold, 
being  a  spring,  and  I  had  to  be  active  to  contrive  to  get  him  out  before 
he  should  become  weakened,  or  perish.  It  was  beyond  call  of  anybody 
and  soon  would  be  dark.  I  was  alone  and  "something  had  to  be  done 
pretty  quick."  I  got  out  horse  and  buggy  too;  no  need  of  detailing  how 
it  was  contrived,  but  1  had  no  help.  Most  of  us  in  those  times,  were  often 
forced  to  be  "a  law  nnto  ourselves."  I  knew  good  men,  pioneers  then, 
who  became  wonderfully  self-reliant,  forced  to  it  by  overmastering  cir- 
cumstances. 


ANOTHER   REMINISCENCE. 

Mrs.  Wasson  was  full  of  energy,  determination  and  fertility  of  resource 
in  trying  situations— the  very  woman  for  pioneering.  In  the  early  days 
fresh  meat  was  furnished  to  a  neighborhood  by  "changing  around."  One, 
when  about  to  "kill  a  critter,"  would  notify  in  advance,  and  when  butcher- 
ed, the  meat  would  be  distributed  in  proper  proportions  to  different 
families,  according  to  size.  One  winter  morning,  Mr.  Wasson  (Uncle 
Ben)  and  the  boys,  Lorenzo,  Harmon  and  Warren  were  about  to  start 
"down  into  Palestine"  with  the  ox-sled  "to  get  up  wood."  Mrs.  Wasson, 
somewhat  emphatically  told  them  she  was  "out  of  meat  and  she  had  got 
to  have  a  hog  killed  before  they  started  into  the  woods."  (Nothing  about 
dressing.)  They  caught  the  hog,  "stuck"  and  bled  it  to  death,  flung  ij, 
into  the  kitchen  and  started  for  the  woods.  When  they  got  in  from 
their  work  there  was  waiting  for  them  a  good  meal  of  fresh  pork,  cooked 
in  acceptable  manner,  served  with  vegetable  accompaniments.  Mrs. 
Wasson  was  famous  for  keeping  up  a  good  garden.  She  was,  as  I  can 

—  146  - 


testify,  a  most  estimable,  judicious  woman;  indeed  of  all  the  typical 
pioneer  women  of  the  early  settlement  'round  about  Amboy  township' 
there  was  no  more  compendious,  representative  woman,  whose  own  per- 
sonal history  was  almost  the  history  of  the  region  itself,  than  Mrs.  Benja- 
min Wasson;  and  I  personally  know  she  was  good.  She  was  a  joyful  pres^ 
ence  at  the  bridal,  an  angel  of  mercy  at  the  bedside  of  the  dying.  There 
was  no  trouble  within  her  range,  she  was  not  ready  as  far  as  possible  to 
alleviate." 


Frank  Northway  and  family  came  here  in  1844  from  Steuben  county, 
New  York,  and  took  up  a  claim  two  mile's  north  of  Amboy.  His  house 
stood  in  the  track  of  the  cyclone  of  1861  and  was  torn  to  pieces,  his  family 
almost  miraculously  escaping  death.  Some  years  ago  the  family  moved 
to  Chicago,  where  Mr.  Northway  died  at  a  good  old  age.  His  wife  and 
daughters  still  reside  there. 

FIRST  FOURTH  OF  JULY  CELEBRATION. 

Patriotism,  the  memory  of  the  way  the  Glorious  Fourth  was  observed 
at  the  old  home  in  the  eastern  states,  and  the  love  of  a  good  time  gener- 
ally, constrained  our  pioneer  friends  to  celebrate  the  day  in  this  place. 
If  we  are  overstepping  the  boundary  of  1845  by  two  or  three  years,  we 
trust  our  friends  of  The  Club  will  forgive  us,  since  it  was  the  first— and  all 
the  first  there  ever  will  be — which  was  observed  within  this  township, 
and  most  of  those  who  took  part  in  it  have  passed  away  or  are  pressing 
hard  upon  the  unseen  boundary  line. 

Some  of  the  good  people  of  "Inlet"  joined  in  the  celebration  with 
ready  heart  and  willing  hands,  rendering  such  aid  as  to  insure  success. 
Dr.  Welch,  then  a  young  man  of  enthusiasm  and  great  executive  ability, 
did  much  to  make  it  what  it  was — a  most  satisfactory  and  delightful  oc- 
casion. The  people  met  in  the  Wasson  School  House,  where,  after  reli- 
gious exercises  and  music,  Rev.  James  Brewer  delivered  the  oration. 

The  choir  was  made  up  of  Dr.  Welch,  Rev.  James  and  Deacon  Ira 
Brewer,  Mrs.  Brewer,  Mrs.  Welch,  Miss  Pratt  and  Misses  Sarah  and 
Rowena  Badger — Deacon  Farwell  adding  the  music  of  his  violin. 

Mr.  Brewer,  in  his  address,  dwelt  upon  the  advantages  and  beneflcient 
working  of  our  government  as  established  by  ourselves  to  satisfy  the  de- 
mands of  our  circumstances  and  needs  as  a  people.  He  compared  the 
heavy  burdens  of  taxation  and  labor  resting  on  the  populations  of  other 
and  what  were  considered  the  most  favored  people  of  other  lands;  of  the 
shameless  extravagance  of  wealthy  and  titled  classes,  as  witnessed  by  the 

—  147  — 


suffering  poor  of  those  lands,  etc.,  with  the  freedom  and  the  compari- 
tively  happy  condition  of  the  people  of  this  land.  Deacon  Farwell,  as  one 
of  a  committee,  asked  it  for  publication,  but  Mr.  Brewer  modestly  de- 
clined the  honor. 

The  choir  sang  "with  spirit  and  with  the  understanding"  "The  break- 
ing waves  dashed  high,"  "My  country,  'tis  of  thee,"  and  the  following 
hymn  to  the  tune  of  Dort: 

"God  bless  our  Native  Land, 
Firm  may  she  ever  stand 

Through  storm  and  night; 
When,  the  wild  tempests  rave, 
Ruler  of  wind  and  wave. 
Do  Thou  our  country  save 

By  Thy  great  might. 

For  her  our  prayers  shall  rise 
To  God  above  the  skies ; 

On  Him  we  wait. 
Thou,  who  art  ever  nigh, 
Guarding  with  watchful  eye. 
To  Thee  aloud  we  cry 

God  save  the  state! " 

A  bountiful  and  delicious  dinner  had  been  prepared,  to  be  served  in  a 
charming  spot  under  the  shade  of  large  trees  on  the  banks  of  Green 
River,  near  the  Binghampton  bridge  and  Plow  factory.  All  the  ladies  in 
the  vicinity  had  been  notified,  ''and  many,  like  the  Badgers  arid  Wassons, 
were  paragon  caterers  and  cooks."  Mrs.  Welch  and  her  sister,  Mrs.  Has- 
kell,  roasted  a  pig,  too  large  to  go  in  an  ordinary  stove  oven,  so  each 
roasted  a  half,  titling  each  half  skillfully  together  when  served.  Dr. 
Welch  contributed  a  large  quantity  of  delicious  peas.  Mrs.  Jonathan 
Peterson,  the  champion  biscuit  maker,  furnished  biscuits,  butter,  and 
honey,  and  others  furnished  chickens  and  various  other  dainties.  The 
tables  were  spread  with  the  cleanest  and  whitest  of  table  cloths  brought 
from  the  family  stores  of  New  England,  New  York  and  Pennsylvania. 

Grace  was  asked  by  a  Free  Will  Baptist  minister,  Mr.  Chamberlain,  of 
Inlet.  Mr.  Warren  Badger  was  toast-master.  Squire  HaskelPs  toast  is 
the  only  One  remembered— "Thespiritof '76!  It  has  kept  well  for  seventy- 
two  years;  and  is  good  proof  yet,  thank  God!  and  please  Him  it  will  pre- 
serve Its  strength  and  purity  untold  ages  yet  to  come!  " 

Dr.  Weteh  pronounced  the  speeches,  toasts  and  responses  equal  to 
any  he  had  ever  heard  in  Buffalo,  New  York,  his  eastern  home,  and  the 
dinner  a  sumptuous  banquet. 

—  148  — 


Rev.  Jas.  Brewer  writes:  "We  were  ludependent  of  Oranges  Groves 
or  Oyster  beds.  Our  ice  cream  was  in  its  liquid  state,  as  it  always  had 
been.  We  were  in  Palestine,  yet  near  to  Paradise,  and  feeling  almost  as 
independent  as  certain  ones  we  read  of  when  they  were  there.  We  were 
a  family  gathered  from  the  north,  south  and  east,  and  were  at  the  ex- 
treme west.  Not  one  of  us  but  might  boast  of  the  fact  that  he  had  by 
labor  earned  what  he  had,  and  was  using,  and  that  he  coveted  no  advan- 
tage over  others  which  was  not  justly  his  own.  Each  of  us  saw  in  every 
other  a  brother  and  a  friend.  I  would  go  farther  to  attend  another  like 
it  than  any  I  have  attended  for  many  a  year. 

"It  has  done  me  good  to  turn  my  thoughts  for  this  little  while  to  the 
'long  ago'  of  my  own  life  and  the  lives  of  so  many  others  in  your  vicinity 
who  were  blessed  and  a  blessing  while  living  there,  some  of  whom — dear 
friends,  may  God  bless  them  ever!— still  remain,  whileothers  have  passed 

into  the  skies." 

o 


NO  SKETCH  of  the  pioneer  women  would  be  just,  without  linking 
their  names  with  the  first  religious  services  held.  Every  one  will 
realize  how  joyfully  they  would  welcome  the  messenger  who  brought 
the  glad  tidings,  and  the  healing  balm  from  the  Great  Physician  to  their 
lonely  lives  and  weary  hearts;  how  the  choicest  viands  which  their  cabins 
could  yield,  and  the  best  of  the  flocks  from  barnyard  or  field  would 
be  prepared  for  the  itinerant  laborer  in  the  divine  work.  The  bless- 
ed souls  who  hunger  and  thirst  after  righteousness,  and  to  whom  the 
promise  of  relief  is  given,  are  not  found  among  those  who  are  most  ready 
to  wrangle  about  the  form  of  the  cup  from  which  the  life-giving  draught 
is  partaken.  Turn  back  to  the  lives  of  the  first  women  here,  in  proof  of 
this. 

It  is  with  deep  regret  that  we  bring  this  imperfect  sketch  of  the  pion- 
eer women  of  Amboy  to  a  close,  having  left  so  many  of  the  most  beauti- 
ful lives  unmentioned.  We  leave  them  with  the  unfaltering  belief  that 
an  angels'  hand  has  recorded  every  gentle  deed  of  every  earnest,  loving 
women,  whose  life  may  often  to  herself  and  to  others,  appear  to  have 
been  too  much  obscured;  whose  lot  in  life  may  have  seemed  to  be  cast  in 
a  place  for  which  Heaven  had  riot  designed  rt.  but  who  will  find  as  the 
shadows  of  earth  flee  away,  that  she  had  never  been  forsaken  even  "for 
a  small  moment,  and  that  through  the  furnace,  sone  had  walked  beside 
her  "whose  form  was  like  the  Son  of  God." 

How  many  of  those  sweet  women  who  found  it  impossible  to  "realize 
their  ideal"  have  idealized  their  "real,"  and  like  gentle,  stately  Deborah 
Ingals,  who  prepared  and  served,  in  the  rude  cabin,  from  a  puncheon 
table  with  puncheon  stools  for  seats,  a  repast  which  was  a  foretaste  of 
Heaven's  banqueting  to  her  loving  brothers,  and  like  the  aroma  of  Para- 
dise in  their  memories  for  more  than  fifty  years  afterwards,  have  dis- 
pensed hospitality  with  refinement,  and  cultivated  the  most  beautiful 
graces  of  womanhood,  as  truly  and  effectually  as  can  be  given  now  amid 
the  rich  supplies  and  the  formalities  and  fashions  of  later  years.  The 

—  150  — 


self-respect,  and  the  giving  of  reverence  due  to  others,  the  gentle  cour- 
tesies and  kindly  acts  between  fellow-mortals  are  not  dependant  for  their 
loveliness  upon  the  latest  fashion  and  the  silver  plate.  The  more  simple 
the  more  heavenly.  That  "Heaven  lies  about  us  in  our  infancy''  is  not 
more  true  of  individuals  than  ot  settlements  and  townships  and  nations. 
The  ox-cart  for  a  chariot,  the  dry  goods  box  or  the  crockery  crate  for  a 
sleigh,  holds  more  smiling  and  happy,  loving  faces  than  the  thousand 
dollar  coupe  or  the  escutcheoned  brougham.  "  We  are  but  children  of  a 
larger  growth  "  and  like  the  boy  astride  a  stick  for  a  prancing  steed,  and 
the  little  girl  with  a  row  of  corn  cobs  for  her  Sunday  school  class,. imagin- 
ation has  greater  room  for  play,  and  contentment  is  more  sure  than  when 
the  ideal  is  realized  in  the  things  that  man  or  woman  can  form,  It  is 
from  such  facts  that  we  learn  to  know  indeed  that  "  The  beings  of  the 
mind  are  not  of  clay,"  that  nothing  of  earth  can  satisfy  the  soul. 

One  of  the  first  settlers  in  this  vicinity,  of  whom  it  may  almost  be 
said  his  "eye  is  not  dim  nor  his  natural  force  abated,"  although  more  than 
seventy-six  years  have  rolled  over  his  head,  says:  "The  women  of  those 
early  day  were  usually  sensible,  plain,  industrious,  economical  and  un- 
complaining. Their  family  cares  and  daily  duties  appeared  to  be  their 
continual  recreation.  Domestic  happiness  was  the  rule.  Conjugal  di- 
vorce was  unthought  of.  'Is  marriage  a  failure'  none  but  a  lunatic  would 
inquire  about.  In  those  days  the  aid  of  every  member  was  essential  to 
family  success.  The  people  were  too  poor  to  afford  war  with  their  friends. 
If  happiness,  as  many  claim,  is  the  only  human  good,  how  does  the  case 
now  stand?  The  human  family  have  more  wisdom,  but  some  ask,  "Is  it 
not  folly  to  be  wise."  In  those  days  labor  and  capital  had  no  controversy. 
Acquisitiveness  is  the  lion  faculty  of  our  age.  Why  will  sensible  people 
be  so  foolish? 

Assemblies  of  the  people  enacted  local  civil  laws,  'Voxpopuli,  Vox  Dei' 
(The  voice  of  the  people  is  the  voice  of  God),  being  the  controlling  spirit. 
It  was  enacted  that  all  the  controversies  might  be  submitted  to  a  board 
of  three  men  regularly  elected  annually,  from  whose  verdict  there  was 
but  one  appeal,  viz:  To  the  People  assembled  in  Grove  meetings.  Thus 
the  time,  expense  and  annoyance  of  the  Maw's  delays'  so  much  in  vogue 
today  were  all  avoided.  The  salary  of  this  unpretentious  court  was  voted 
to  be  $1.00  each  per  day.  Justice  and  equity  were,  in  those  days,  more 
highly  esteemed  than  technicalities  of  statutes  or  even  common  law.  In 
cases  of  assault  where  both  men  appeared  to  be  in  fault,  it  has  been 
known  that  both  plaintiff  and  defendant  were  fined  alike,  with  popular 
approval." 

—  151  — 


For  eighteen  years  the  settlement  made  small  progress,  and  good  wild 
land  was  still  to  be  obtained  at  $1.25  per  acre.  Then  came,  in  1854,  the 
Illinois  Central  railroad  which  gave  business  and  emigration  an  impetus 
which  has  continued  with  more  or  less  activity  until  the  present  time. 

As  late  as  1857  there  was  scarcely  a  farm  south  and  west  of  the  city 
fenced  in,  and  one  could  drive  miles  west  from  Amboy  with  not  a  house 
in  view,  save  two  or  three  against  the  distant  horizon,  like  ships  far  out 
at  sea,  A  pocket  compass  is  treasured  now,  the  size  of  a  watch,  which 
was  used  in  those  days  by  a  physician  to  find  the  most  direct  bearing 
toward  some  settlers'  houses  to  be  visited.  No  tree  or  fence  or  stone  was 
to  be  seen,  only  wagon  tracks  in  every  direction;  and  the  howling  of 
wolves  was  no  unusual  sound  on  winter  nights  out  on  the  prairie. 

In  summer  the  vast  expanse  of  "living  green,"  the  Jonliness  and 
silence,  as  the  traveler  rode  over  the  plain,  all  combined  to  awaken  a 
sense  of  sublimity  kindred  to  that  aroused  by  the  grandeur  of  the  ocean. 
Then,  after  the  long,  still  ride  in  the  sunshine  and  wind,  the  grazing  cat- 
tle, and  the  tinkling  bells  of  flocks  and  herds  would  herald  the  human 
habitation.  Will  any  one  who  has  heard  them  in  the  first  great  despair 
of  homesickness,  ever  forget  the  sound  of  those  tinkling  bells  as  their 
strange  music  fell  upon  the  listening  ear;  when  the  bright  sunshine  and 
peaceful  herds  were  so  discordant  with  the  sad  harpings  within  the  soul? 
But  homesickness  is  not  incurable. 


Tfi 


LEE  COUNTY  is  divided  into  twenty-two  townships,  each  town  have- 
ing  an  average  of  23,040  acres. 

Amboy  is  the  central  town,  the  exact  geographical  center  being 
in  a  grove  of  locust  trees  on  the  farm  of  William  Acker,  once  the  home  of 
Deacon  Moses  Crombie,  three-fourths  of  a  mile  northeast  of  the  C.  B.  & 
Q.  railroad  station. 

The  Illinois  Central  railroad  passes  through  the  town  from  southeast 
to  northwest,  and  it  is  known  that  freight  trains  can  be  brought  into 
Amboy  from  each  direction  with  less  steam  power  than  is  required  to 
carry  out  the  same.  This  has  given  the  impression  that  Amboy  is  a  "low 
countrie."  The  civil  engineer  of  the  northern  division  of  the  Illinois 
Central  railroad  company  located  here,  F.  B.  Doty,  has  furnished  the 
the  following  statistics  of  the  survey  along  the  line  of  the  railroad  through 
Lee  county,  the  Ohio  river  at  Cairo,  at  low  water  mark  being  the  base  of 
measurement.  Sublette  is  178  feet  higher  than  Amboy,  Eldena  is  60  feet 
higher,  while  beautiful  Dixon  is  54  feet  lower.  Resting  between  these 
two  elevations,  with  a  declivity  so  gentle  as  to  be  unobservable  and  un- 
known to  many  of  her  inhabitants,  lie  her  prairies  and  groves  and  homes. 
Sublette  and  Eldena  stretch  their  protecting  arms  southeast  and  north- 
west, and  how  much  Amboy  is  indebted  to  them  for  deliverence  from 
tornadoes  and  the  destruction  thence,  we  can  never  know.  Physicians 
pronounce  this  a  healthy  locality. 

Amboy  township  was  incorporated  in  the  winter  of  1854-5,  and  the 
charter  for  a  city  in  1857  was  laid  before  the  legislature  by  John  B.  Wy- 
man,  Wm.  E.  Ives  and  J.  V.  Judd,  a  committee  chosen  for  that  purpose. 
It  was  enacted  and  approved  February  16,  1857,  and  adopted  at  an  elec- 
tion on  the  2nd  of  March. 

John  B.  Wyman  was  the  first  mayor.  The  city  has  just  held  an  elec- 
tion, and  this  Columbian  year  of  1893  which  dawned  with  Capt.  Geo.  E. 
Young  as  mayor,  witnesses  the  incoming  of  Dr.  C.  E.  Wilcox,  with  the 
following  aldermen: 

—  153  — 


First  Ward— C.  H.  Long,  Lewis  Entorf,  W.  T.  Smith. 

Second  Ward — W.  V.  Beresford,  Isaac  Edwards,  Herman  Penne- 
backer. 

Third  Ward— I.  R.  Patterson,  Frank  Egan,  Chas.  Keifer. 

Marshal — John  H.  Harvey  i 

Night  Police — Thomas  Monahan. 

City  Attorney — Charles  H.  Wooster. 

Treasurer — M.  Carroll. 

Police  Magistrate — Thomas  Hines. 

City  Clerk — M.  J.  Monahan. 

The  township  supervisor  is  A.  J.  Tompkins. 

Amboy  has  two  weekly  newspapers  published  here,  viz:  The  Amboy 
Journal,  editor,  Geo.  A.  Lyrnan,  and  the  News,  editor,  James  H.  Preston. 

The  first  editor  of  the  first  newspaper  published  in  Amboy  was  Augus- 
tus Noel  Dickens,  youngest  brother  of  the  author,  Charles  Dickens.  It 
was  called  the  Lee  County  Times. 

There  are  seven  houses  of  worship  and   nine  church  organizations. 

The  Congregational  church,  pastor.  Rev.  Mr.  Dickerman;  Baptist,  Rev. 

Mr.  Mason;  Methodist  Episcopal  church,  Rev.  Mr.  Morley;  Catholic,  Rev. 

Father  Lonergan;  Episcopal,   Rev.   Mr.   Sweetland;  Lutheran, — United 

. Bretheran — Advent, — Latter  Day  Saints. 

There  are  four  school  houses,  ten  teachers,  three  assistants  and  (445) 
four  hundred  and  forty-five  pupils. 

Mr.  I.  F.  Edwards,  superintendent. 

Miss  Anna  Warnick,  principal. 

Miss  B.  Woods,  grammar  department. 

Miss  L.  Merrow,  assistant. 

Mr.  P.  C.  Deming,  grammar  department. 

Miss  C.  Poland,  assistant. 

Misses  M.  Campbell,  J.  Carroll  and  J.  Curtin,  intermediate  depart- 
ments. 

Misses  A.  Carson,  L.  Morris,  M.  Sparks  and  Mrs.  F.  Jewett,  primary 
departments. 

The  Illinois  Central  railroad  company's  shops,  and  the  offices  of  the 
Northern  Division,  located  here,  bring  to  the  town  monthly  payments  of 
($25,000)  twenty-five  thousand  dollars.  There  is  a  co-operative  creamery, 
tile  factory,  etc.,  etc.  A  beautiful  park  of  twenty-five  acres,  shaded  by 
stately  trees,  with  a  half  mile  driving  course  adjoins  the  city  on  the 
eastern  limits.  Arnboy  rejoices  in  a  band  which  discourses  music,  always 

—  154  — 


welcome  to  old  and  young,  to  the  sad  as  well  as  the  gay.    We  append  the 
names  of  the  "boys." 

Fred  J.  Blocher,  leader;  William  Keho,  Jean  Wamsley,  Conrad  Asch- 
enbrenner,  Frank  Blocher,  Edward  Thomas,  Fred  Wohnke,  Percy  Dem- 
ing,  Henry  Maus,  Ed,  Staup,  C.  Gilbert  Emery,  Hugh  Carroll,  Frank 
Fehr,  Cornelius  W.  Maine,  Henry  Wilson. 

The  location  of  the  town  is  excellent  for  those  desiring  to  engage  in 
the  manufacturing  business,  as  a  direct  outlet  by  rail  in  four  different' 
directions,  intersecting  all  other  main  lines  in  the  state  are  available 
within  a  few  rods  of  vacant  city  property;  the  Illinois  Central  railroad 
and  Chicago  Burlington  &  Quincy  railroad  crossing  here.  The  engraving 
of  the  Illinois  Central  railroad  depot  and  the  company's  offices  is  a  correct 
representation  of  the  building  which  occupies  the  site  of  the  old  Passen- 
ger House,  the  three  story  brick  building  with  dome  which  was  once  the 
central  building  and  pride  of  the  city.  Efforts  have  been  made  to  obtain 
a  picture  of  it  but  none  was  found.  It  was  destroyed  by  flre  November 
15,  1875. 

Amboy  has  been  devasted  by  flre  once  and  again,  but  it  was  restored 
and  improved  by  the  destructive  visitation.  One  heavy  cloud  has  hung 
over  it,  and  it  is  not  yet  entirely  dispelled.  When  in  its  youthful  lux- 
uriance, and  greatest  prosperity,  a  railroad  tax  was  voted  upon  it  which 
has  curtailed  its  resources  and  prevented  its  development.  It  is  now 
being  steadily  diminished.  Let  us  hope  that,  like  some  of  our  city  trees 
which  have  been  trimmed  on  every  bough  and  branch  and  limb  until 
people  cried  "it  is  ruined,"  but  which  now  stand  firm  and  symmetrical, 
resisting  every  gale,  Amboy  will  emerge  from  the  trial,  stronger  and 
wiser  and  better  for  the  struggle. 

An  artesian  well  has  been  added  to  the  city,  and  though  its  water  may 
not  flow  from 

"Where  Alph,  the  sacred  river  ran, 
In  caverns  measureless  to  man," 

Yet  it  is  considered  excellent  water  by  those  who  use  it,  and  it  comes 
from  a  depth  of  over  2000  feet.  Amboy  has  excellent  bridges  and  side- 
walks, good  streets,  macadamized  in  part,  and  well  cared  for;  and  adjacent 
stone  quarries.  Her  streets  are  beautifully  shaded,  in  some  places  em- 
bowered; all  lighted  with  electric  lights  suspended  aloft  at  every  corner, 
and  like  the  Star  of  Bethlehem  "go  before"  the  traveller  all  the  way. 

So  may  that  Star  indeed  pioneer  us  all  the  way,  until  it  shall  stand 
over  the  open  Gates  of  that  "strong  city"  where  "the  righteous  nation 
which  keepeth  the  truth  may  enter  in." 

—  155  — 


ip  ©j' 


From  Mr.s. 


WE  received  the  following  pleasant  account  of  the  early  settlers 
of  Alto  township  through  the  efforts  of  Mrs.  George  Gary,  who 
is,  in  turn,  indebted  to  Mrs.  Charles  R.  Hall  for  it.  She  writes: 

"My  deceased  husband  and  myself  came  to  what  is  now  known  as 
Alto  township,  then  a  part  of  Willow  Creek,  to  make  it  our  home, in  May, 
1855.  Mr.  Hall  was  through  the  township  for  the  first  time  at  Christmas 
of  1851,  and  at  that  time  there  were  but  two  families  in  the  township 
now  called  Alto.  They  were  John  Grimes,  who  settled  at  'Plum  Thicket,' 
and  Jedediah  Loveridge,  one  mile  west,  just  south  of  the  present  town  of 
Steward.  In  1855  families  had  multiplied  to  at  least  half  a  dozen,  whose 
names  as  I  now  remember  them  were  Esquire  Holcomb,  wife,  son  and 
daughter;  Mr.  Williams,  wife  and  fourteen  children;  Josiah  Carpenter 
with  his  mother  and  sisters;  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Mills,  the  only  member  of  the 
family  now  living  in  the  township. 

"A  school  house  was  built  on  a  site  across  from  the  cemetery  in  Stew- 
ard in  the  summer  of  '56  and  the  following  winter  the  first  school  was 
taught  by  Miss  Carrie  Whitcomb.  The  year  following  Miss  Addie  Rey- 
nolds was  the  teacher.  During  the  summer  of  '57  we  held  our  first  meet- 
ings in  the  new  school  house,  and  during  the  next  year  a  society  of  the 
M.  E.  Church  was  formed,  consisting  of  seven  or  eight  members. 

"Our  eldest  son,  Irving  E.  Hall,  died  in  April,  1857,  in  his  fourth  year, 
and  his  was  the  first  death  and  burial  in  Alto  township,  though  several 
others  soon  followed. 

"My  husband  and  myself,  with  our  family,  lived  in  Alto  until  May, 
1866,  when  we  moved  to  the  adjoining  county  of  Ogle,  where  we  have 
since  resided.  Our  pioneering  was  very  different  from  that  of  the  set- 
tlers in  the  older  townships,  but  it  may  be  of  interest  to  know  who  were 
first  in  Alto.  MRS.  ARIAN  C.  HALL. 


BETSY  (BLANCHARD)  GRIMES. 


Bs.tsj/   (Bfex.T2G.ftar3)   Grimed. 


BETSY  BLANCHARD  was  born  at  Attleborough,  Mass.,  June  21st, 
1794,  and  was  united  in  marriage  to  John  Grimes  on  June  17,  1818. 

Born  and  raised  in  the  primitive  log  cabin,  she  was  of  the  sturdy 
stock  of  the  pioneer,  and  well  fitted  by  nature  and  by  disposition  for  the 
vicissitudes  and  trials  of  those  early  days.  She  removed  to  Illinois  in 
1842,  her  husband  locating  for  a  brief  period  at  Oregon,  Ogle  county,  re- 
moving to  Plum  Thicket,  in  Alto  township,  Lee  County,  in  1847,  where 
she  resided  until  the  day  of  her  death,  March  1st,  1872. 

She  was  a  very  energetic  woman,  and  aside  from  performing  the  press- 
ing household  duties,  incident,  to  pioneer  days,  she  reared  a  family  of  ten 
children,  seven  boys  and  three  girls. 

Widely  known  and  universally  respected  she  died  regretted  by  a  wide 
circle  of  neighbors,  who  will  always  remember  her  friendly  offices. 


at 


IN  the  year  1835  the  first  settlers  came  to  this  section  of  Illinois,  C. 
Royce,  J.  Clark  and  I.  Rosecrans  settling  north  of  what  is  now  called 
Ashton. 

In  '38  Andrew  Drumraond  and  John  Weatherington,  with  their  fami- 
lies, came  and  settled  on  the  west  side  of  Lafayette  Grove — came  in  big 
wagons  or  ''prairie  schooners,"  being  about  twice  the  size  of  a  wagon  of 
the  present  time.  These  were  covered  with  sheeting  and  drawn  gener- 
ally by  oxen. 

They  brought  cattle  and  sheep  with  them  and  with  cards  and  spinning 
wheels  came  prepared  to  manufacture  their  own  clothing.  Taking  their 
yarn  eight  miles  to  a  weaver,  when  some  member  of  the  family  would 
work  for  the  weaver  to  pay  for  weaving.  These  pioneer  women  carded, 
spun,  wove  and  made  into  garments  for  all  members  of  the  family.  They 
also  made  woolen  caps  for  the  men  in  winter  and  straw  hats  for  summer 
use  from  the  straw  gathered  from  the  wheat  fields,  which  they  braided, 
sewed  and  shaped  with  their  own  hands.  An  expert  could  braid  and  sew 
one  of  those  hats  in  a  day,  which  was  worth  at  that  time  fifty  cents. 
Men's  home  knit  socks  sold  readily,  too,  at  fifty  cents  per  pair.  They 
raised  flax,  too,  from  which  they  made  all  their  summer  clothing. 

The  first  school  was  taught  in  a  log  house  covered  with  basswood  bark. 
Miss  Benedict,  now  Mrs.  Barton  Cartwright  of  Oregon,  Ills.,  was  the 
teacher.  The  same  house  was  used  as  a  Methodist  Church.  The  first 
Christian  Church  was  organized  by  Elder  Walworth  in  1841  and  services 
were  held  in  the  "big  barn"  of  John  Weatherington,  which  is  one  of  the 
old  landmarks  of  today..  The  farm  is  now  owned  by  Ira  Coakly,  of  Dixon. 

The  site  of  the  village  of  Ashton  was  known  as  the  "big  hill"  and  is 
the  highest  point  in  Lee  County.  When  the  farmers'  cattle  strayed 
away  they  could  take  a  field  glass  and  go  to  the  big  hill  and  view  the 
prairie  for  miles  around.  Mr.  Erastus  Anderson,  now  living  in  Ashton, 
was  the  first  settler  in  the  township,  he  having  settled  on  a  farm  in  1849. 
He  was  almost  out  of  the  settlements  at  that  time,  and  there  were  not 
many  more  until  about  '54,  when  the  railroad  was  built  from  Chicago  to 
Dixon;  when  the  company  made  a  station  here  and  called  it  Ogle  Station; 
when  Ashton  township  soon  settled  up. 

MRS.  THOMAS  WALKER. 
—  169  — 


A    SEPARATE  history  of  Bradford  before  1845  would  be  a  very  lim- 
ited affair,  as  the  people,  with  very  few  exceptions,  settled  first  in 
and  about  Inlet.    The  territory,  which  is  now  divided   into  the 
townships  of   Lee,  Bradford,   Amboy,   and  China,  was  known  as  Ogle 
County. 

We  are  told  that  the  first  settler  in  Bradford  townsnip  was  Oman 
Hillison,  a  Norwegian,  and  a  man  of  remarkable  courage  and  ambition. 
He  came  to  this  country  alone,  walked  from  New  York  to  Chicago,  and 
when  be  decided  to  settle  in  Bradford,  built  a  sod-house,  in  which  he 
lived  until  the  '40's.  His  wife,  now  Mrs.  Elizabeth  Aschenbrenner,  still  re- 
sides upon  her  farm  in  Bradford. 

A  Mr.  Whitmore  and  Mr.  Sherman  Shaw  are  said  to  have  been  the 
first  to  build  houses  in  this  township.  Mr.  John  Hotzel  was  the  first 
German  settler  in  Bradford,  and  at  his  house  was  organized  the  German 
church  society,  which  now  worships  in  the  church  in  Bradford. 

The  name  of  Shaw  is  found  frequently  in  the  list  of  old  settlers,  and 
we  are  informed  that  the  first  house  built  in  Lee  Center,  proper,  was  for 
the  first  widow  in  the  town,  Mrs.  William  Shaw,  whose  husband,  we  are 
told,  tnet  with  a  tragic  death.  He,  with  family,  started  for  Mendota  in 
a  sleigh;  when  nearing  Sand  Grove,  just  beyond  the  Inlet,  a  wolf  was  seen 
running  over  the  snow.  In  drawing  up  his  gun  from  the  sleigh  bottom 
the  trigger  snapped  and  the  contents  of  the  gun  were  discharged  into  his 
body,  causing  death  in  a  few  hours. 

Many  of  the  name  still  go  in  and  out  among  us;  many  are  gone  on  to 
the  silent  land;  some  of  whom  won  a  "good  degree"  in  the  trying  days 
of  the  Rebellion. 

Among  those  of  the  descendants  who  have  removed  to  other  states, 
we  had  a  pleasant  word  not  long  since  from  William  Gardner,  son  of 
Joseph  Gardner  and  Hannah  Shaw,  who  assures  us  that  he  has  not  for- 
gotten his  Lee  County  home  and  friends.  His  uncle,  John  H.Shaw,  was 

—  173  — 


an  officer  of  the  Volunteers.    Fortunes  have  been  gathered  by  some,  and 
younger  generations  are  moving  on  in  the  steps  of  their  fathers. 

Mr.  Edwin  Pomeroy,  of  Bradford,  with  John  H.  Gardner  introduced 
the  first  reaper  in  this  vicinity.  It  created  great  interest  all  through  the 
farming  community  and  people  flocked  from  all  directions  to  see  the  first 
trial  of  the  new  machine  in  a  wheat  field,  owned  by  Mr.  Pomeroy.  John 
H.  Gardner,  his  partner  in  the  enterprise,  was  not  a  citizen  of  Bradford, 
but  of  Lee  Center,  and  his  son,  John  M.  Gardner,  still  lives;  on  the  home- 
stead near  the  village;  though  property  is  still  owned  by  the  family  in 
Bradford. 

In  one  of  the  hill  towns  of  Massachusetts,  just  fifty  years  ago,  Mr. 
Ira  Brewer  wooed  and  wedded  a  maiden,  and  her  name  was  Mary — Mary 
Phillips.  Then  came  the  wedding  journey  to  the  far  west,  and  the  selec- 
tion of  a  home  and  the  settling  therein.  The  experiences  of  true  pioneer 
life  followed.  We  are  glad  to  be  able  to  give  our  readers  a  few  reminis- 
cences from  Mr.  Brewer,  and  to  introduce  to  the  public  the  face  of  her 
who  has  been  the  guiding  star  in  the  lives  of  her  husband  and  family, 
Mrs.  Mary  P.  Brewer.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Brewer  engaged  in  and  oftea  origi- 
nated the  moral  and  religious  enterprises  of  that  early  day.  Attending 
church  and  Sunday-school,  when  they  owned  one  horse,  Mrs.  Brewer 
would  ride  the  horse  while  her  husband  walked  by  her  side,  often  singing 
the  old  songs,  •  'There  is  a  Happy  Land,  or, 

"I'll  awake  at  dawn, 
On  the  Sabbath  morn, 
For  'tis  wrong  to  doze 
Holy  time  away." 

The  knowledge  that  Mr.  Brewer  understood  music,  soon  brought  to 
him  the  opportunity  of  conducting  the  first  singing-school  in  Inlet.  He 
was  formally  appointed  to  the  position  in  this  wise:  Dr.  Welch  hands  a 
subscription  to  Mr.  Brewer,  saying,  "You  are  to  teach  singing-school," 
Mr.  Brewer  cogitates:  ''Well,  I  guess  I  know  as  much  about  music  as  any 
one  here,  and  it  will  help  along  as  far  as  it  goes — in  sociability  and  in 
dimes— so  I'll  try."  Then  a  subscription  list  was  raised  in  Lee  Center  for 
a  singing-school,  then  over  in  the  Wasson  school  house,  until  finally  Mr. 
Brewer  found  himself  the  singing  master  in  six  schools.  There  was  no 
organ  or  organist  to  depend  on,  which  to  our  modern  singers  in  Israel, 
would  seem  an  appalling  fact,  but  with  the  ingenuity  born  of  necessity, 
Mr.  Brewer  went  into  a  blacksmith  shop,  selected  his  material  and  ham- 
mered out  a  tuning-fork,  with  which  he  pitched  the  key  for  those  old  mel- 
odies which  have  never  died  out  in  the  hearts  of  the  singers.  Hang,  yes, 

—  174  — 


hang  up  the  old  tuning-fork  where  the  sight  of  it  will  bring  to  mind  pic- 
tures of  the  time  when  our  parents  and  grandparents  gathered  reverently 
to  worship  God,  in  the  old  log  school  houses  and  cabins  on  the  prairies, 
when  the  whole  family  came,  moved  by  the  principles  which  actuated 
the  pilgrim  fathers.  Pictures  of  when  those  whose  heads  have  whitened 
in  the  march  of  time,  stood  erect  in  their  young  man  and  maidenhood, 
and  sang  the  songs  of  Zion,  with  fervent  gratitude  for  the  past  and  with 
kindling  hopes  for  the  future,  when  these  prairies  should  rejoice  and 
blossom  as  the  rose. 

Mr.  Brewer  says:  "In  giving  a  history  of  the  early  settlement  of  this 
county,  ib  seems  necessary,  in  order  to  do  justice,  to  look  at  the  situation 
of  the  county  at  the  time  of  settlement.  We  have  to  remember  that  the 
first  settlers  came  here  and  located  on  Government  lands,  and  of  course 
all  the  property  that  was  subject  to  taxation  was  what  little  personal 
property  was  owned  by  the  settlers.  The  laws  were  inadequate  to  the 
circumstances  of  the  people,  so  that  the  people  had  to  become  a  law  unto 
themselves.  Hence  we  see  the  need  of  the  'Grove  Association.'  and  the 
'Society  for  the  Furtherance  of  the  Cause  of  Justice,'  to  see  that  things 
were  done  honestly.  I  could  name  many  of  the  stern  old  pioneers  who 
were  instrumental  in  keeping  early  settlers  and  the  affairs  of  our  county 
in  good  condition.  The  people  saw  the  necessity  of  good  schools,  and 
that  good  order  should  prevail,  and  in  their  poverty  they  determined  not 
to  be  without.  And  poverty  it  was.  But  few  of  the  settlers  had  any 
money — no  capital  but  pluck.  Well,  the  neighborhood  west  of  the  pres- 
ent Lee  Center,  decided  to  have  a  school  in  the  summer  of  '43.  So  they 
met  and  hauled  logs  on  the  land  then  owned  by  Sumuel  Ullrich,  and  had 
a  log  rolling  bee.  This  building  stood  for  years  as  school  house,  church 
and  town  hall. 

"In  the  fall  of '43, 1  remember  Mr.  G.  R.  Linn  and  Daniel  Frost  coming 
to  me  with  the  good  news  that  they  had  raised  $40.00  to  support  a  school 
for  three  months.  They  desired  me  to  act  as  teacher  and  I  could  have 
this  magnificent  salary,  with  the  privilege  of  boarding  with  them  or 
boarding  mjself.  1  accepted  the  offer  and  boarded  myself,  except  when 
I  had  night  schools.  Then  I  took  tea  with  the  above  mentioned  gentle- 
men. 

"The  older  settlers  had  the  larger  part  of  the  grove.  When  it  was  good 
sleighing  there  was  liable  to  be  some  claim  jumping  by  settlers,  in  the 
way  of  hauling  timber  from  other  claims.  Then  it  was  the  duty  of  the 
president  of  the  Grove  Association  to  order  a  meeting,  and  the  clerk  to 
mount  a  pony  and  give  the  settlers  notice.  But  the  worst  cases  were 

--  175  — 


when  some  persons  would  jump  a  home  claim.  I  remember  several  such 
cases,  one  of  which  I  will  relate.  A  settler  on  Temperance  Hill  had  a 
claim  jumped.  'The  Grove'  was  called  together  and  it  was  decided  that 
the  claim  belonged  to  the  original  claimant,  and  that  the  jumper  must 
give  it  up,  which  he  declined  doing.  Uncle  Russel  Linn  rose,  with  as 
much  dignity  as  if  he  was  in  class  meeting,  and  said:  'Gentlemen  we 
have  come  here  to  make  homes  for  ourselves  and  our  families.  The  gov- 
ernment has  held  out  inducements  for  us  to  come,  and  we  have  made  our 
homes,  and  we  intend  to  defend  them  if  we  die  on  the  defence. 
Then,  we  hope  we  have  boys  that  will  arise  and  avenge  our  death.' 
The  man  saw  Uncle  Eussel  with  his  seven  boys  and  made  up  his  mind  if 
he  had  to  kill  the  father  and  all  the  boys  before  he  could  obtain  peacable 
possession,  he  would  give  it  up. 

It  took  longer  to  go  to  Chicago  in  those  days  than  now.  Sometimes 
we  thought  it  a  little  hazardous,  both  for  those  who  went  and  those  who 
remained.  Indians  encamped  in  the  grove  a  part  of  the  time;  and  then 
there  was  a  large  band  all  over  the  state  that  used  to  steal  horses  and 
other  property,  and  make  bogus  coin.  When  1  started  for  an  eight  or 
ten  days'  trip,  leaving  the  girl  wife  at  home,  you  can  imagine  the  trial  it 
was  to  me,  and  I  well  knew  it  was  to  her,  as  she  stood  on  the  door  step 
to  see  me  off.  When  I  went  to  mill  in  Aurora  it  was  a  similar  experience. 
The  first  church  service  we  attended  was  in  June,  '43.  It  was  held  at  the 
home  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Mosses  Crombie,  on  what  is  now  called  Crombie's 
Lane.  An  uncle  of  J.  M.  Gardner's  preached.  Mr.  Bender  moved  to 
Bradford  in  1845,  building  a  house  a  little  north  of  where  he  now  resides. 
He  was  the  first  town  clerk  in  Bradford  township. 

Of  the  old  settlers  from  whom  we  have  no  farther  data  than  the  time 
of  their  settlement  we  give  names  which  are  familiar,  but  around  which 
we  have  no  "experiences"  with  which  to  adorn  our  pages.  Frank  DeWolf 
whose  sister,  Mallnda,  married  Sherman  Shaw,  a  good  "mother  in  Israel," 
who  left  us  not  long  since  for  a  better  home,  and  Nelson  DeWolf,  came 
in  1837.  Edwin  Pomeroy,  who  with  Lewis  Clapp,  was  long  accounted  the 
possessor  of  the  richest  proportion  of  worldly  goods  in  our  part  of  the 
county,  came  in  1844.  Jesse  Woodruff,  C.  Bowen,  L.  Shumway,  Samuel 
Cobel,  William,  Warren  and  Stephen  Clink,  in  the  years  from  1841  to 
1843.  Mr.  Ralph  Evitts,  a  familiar  figure  in  county  affairs,  1842;  Charles 
Starks.  in  1839;  Sherman  Shaw,  the  grandfather  of  the  present  owner  of 
the  title,  in  1839;  Elias  Hulburt  and  Ebenezer  Whipple,  in  1842. 

It  will  readily  be  seen  how  closely  interwoven  are  the  stories  of  the 
older  townships,  and  how  difficult  a  task  it  is  to  disentangle  a  straight 

—  176  - 


thread  of  narrative  from  such  a  web  of  changing  residence,  intermarriage 
and  removal.  Could  the  old  settlers  have  better  understood  our  purpose 
and  set  their  daughters  to  the  pleasant  task  of  our  assistance  we  might 
have  made  much  more  satisfactory  and  gratifying  work.  As  it  is,  re- 
member the  warning  of  the  introduction,  it  is  yours  as  well  as  ours  with 
its  failings  or  its  success. 

ANNA  E.  WOODBRIDGE. 


MRS.   IRA   BREWER. 


Tfie 


ZACIIALUAH  MELUGIN   was  the  first  person  who  settled  at  the 
Grove  that  still  bears  his  name,  in  J834.  lie  took  part  in  the  Indian 
w.ir.    At  the  close  of  the  war  the  garrison  was  situated  at  Dixon 
and  Mr.  Melugin  returned  from  the  war  and  came  to  the  Grove  on  the 
first  stage  that  came  from  Galena  to  Chicago.    He  brought  with  him  his 
camp  equipments  and  lived  alone  nearly  two  years,  when  he  was  joined 
by  liis  sister,  Mrs.  Robinson,  who  remained  with  him  until  his  marriage. 
At  that*  time  there  was  no  house  between   Inlet  and  Paw  Paw,  nor  be- 
tween Rochelle  and  Troy  Grove.     A.  O.  Christiance  and  John  Gilmore 
came  to  the  Grove  in  June,  1835.  Mus.  EZRA  BKIIKY. 


'  e,  L.  (3  r  ©  VG  . 


When  there  was  a  call  for  troops  for  the  Black  Hawk  war,  Zachariah 
Melugin,  then  living  near  Springfield,  Sangamon  County.  Illinois,  en- 
listed at  Rock  Island.  At  the  close  of  the  war  he  returned  to  Sangamon 
County.  In  the  fall  of  1833  he  went  to  Dixon. 

Father  Dixon  and  others  persuaded  him  to  go  to  the  Grove,  now 
known  as  Melugin  Grove,  to  establish  a  stage  station  on  the  stage  and 
mail  route  between  Chicago  and  Galena  via  Dixon's  Ferry.  The  stages 
commenced  running  January  1st,  1834. 

He  was  the  first  settler  and  kept  the  house  alone  the  first  winter. 
There  were  many  Indians  about.  They  were  always  friendly  and  thought 
highly  of  him,  and  used  to  go  in  and  spend  the  evenings  with  him  when 
he  was  alone. 

The  spring  following  his  sister  Mary  (my  mother)  came  from  Sanga- 
mon County  and  stayed  with  him  until  he  and  Mary  Ross  were  married 
at  Ottawa,  Ills.,  October  12th,  1834.  That  summer  of  1834  mother  was 
the  only  white  woman  at  the  Grove,  and  none  between  there  and  Dixon, 
twenty-miles  distant.  A  great  many  bands  of  Indians  belonging  to  the 
Sac,  Fox,  Winnebago  and  Pottawattomie  tribes,  passed  through  the 
Grove,  sometimes  stopping  for  a  few  days,  often  complimenting  mother 
by  calling  her  a  "brave  squaw."  During  that  summer  she  carried  water 
from  a  spring  eighty  rods  from  the  stage  station,  going  by  a  mere  path. 
They  had  a  cow,  but  no  churn;  she  would  put  the  cream  in  a  coffee-pot, 
set  the  water  pail  on  her  head,  take  the  coffee-pot  in  her  hands  and  shake 
it  as  fast  as  she  could  all  the  way  to  the  spring,  carrying  a  pail  of  water 
in  one  hand  and  coffee-pot  in  the  other  going  back;  in  that  way  she  could 
soon  finish  the  churning.  Once  during  that  summer  she  visited  Mrs. 
Dixon,  at  Dixon's  Ferry,  and  there,  on  the  first  evening  of  her  visit,  she 
first  met  my  father,  John  K.  Robinson.  He  had  served  in  the  Black 
Hawk  war,  enlisting  at  Rock  Island  from  Hancock  County,  Ills.  At  the 
close  of  the  war  he  remained  at  Dixon's  Ferry. 

Father  and  mother  were  married  at  the  home  of  her  brother,  Zacha- 

—  184  — 


riah  Melugin,  by  the  Rev.  Harris,  September  10th,  1835. 

They  had  decided  to  be  married  when  the  circuit  rider  (the  pioneer 
Methodist  preacher)  should  next  visit  the  Grove.  When  he  came  he 
found  within  less  than  a  mile  of  the  stage  station  a  small  company  of 
men  building  a  log  house,  the  expectant  bridegroom  one  of  the  number. 
At  his  invitation  the  men  left  the  work  and  went  to  the  station,  where 
their  wives  were,  and  there  the  marriage  took  place,  that  being  the  first 
wedding  at  Melugin's  Grove. 

About  one-half  mile  from  Zachariah  Melugin's  my  father  built  his 
house  (of  one  room)  of  unhewed  logs,  as  did  all  the  settlers,  the  spaces 
between  the  logs  were  filled  with  small  pieces  of  wood,  then  plastered 
over  with  mortar  made  of  clay,  the  roof  and  floor  boards  were  obtained 
by  splitting  trees.  Shelves  for  dishes,  etc.,  were  made  by  boring  holes  in 
the  logs,  driving  in  long  pins,  and  laying  a  board  across  the  pins. 

The  fireplace  warmed  the  room,  and  there  the  cooking  was  done;  cook- 
ing utensils  were  very  scarce,  the  bread  was  baked  in  iron  kettles  having 
iron  covers,  the  kettle  being  placed  in  one  side  of  the  fireplace  and  com- 
pletely covered  with  live  coals  and  hot  ashes,  potatoes  were  also  roasted 
in  the  ashes. 

Gourds  were  used  for  baskets,  basins,  cups,  dippers,  soap  dishes,  etc. 
Hollow  trees  cut  in  suitable  lengths  were  used  for  well  curbs,  bee  hives, 
and  for  storing  the  vegetables  and  grain.  Large  trees  were  hollowed  out 
into  troughs  and  placed  under  the  eaves  to  catch  the  rain  water,  in  sugar 
making  to  hold  the  sap;  small  troughs  were  used  to  knead  the  bread 
in,  and  some  of  the  babies  slept  in  cradles  made  of  troughs.  Father  made 
butter  bowl,  ladle,  rolling  pin,  brooms  and  other  articles  of  wood,  for  use 
in  the  house.  All  this  was  done  by  hand,  and  with  rude  implements;  he 
also  mended  his  harness,  and  was  cobbler  for  his  own  family,  keeping 
their  shoes  in  repair.  Some  families  had  no  timepiece,  they  told  the 
time  during  the  day  by  the  sun— had  a  noon  mark  in  a  door  or  window — 
at  night  by  the  position  of  the  stars  in  the  Great  Dipper  in  the  north. 
For  want  of  looking  glasses,  when  they  wished  to  see  how  their  hair  was 
dressed,  they  looked  in  the  well  or  watertrough.  Some  of  the  early  set- 
tlers were  very  destitute — the  children  having  but  one  dress  apiece,  made 
of  unbleached  muslin,  colored  with  butternut  bark— the  mother  washed 
and  ironed  their  clothing  while  they  were  in  bed. 

Father's  first  house  was  one  story  and  had  but  the  one  room,  with  fire- 
place in  one  end,  door  in  the  other,  windows  in  opposite  sides  of  the  room. 
The  windows  were  small,  having  but  one  sash  each,  containing  six  panes 
of  glass.  The  fireplace  was  made  of  such  rocks  as  they  could  pick  up, 

—  185  — 


filled  in  with  mortar  made  of  clay;  the  chimney  was  built  from  the 
ground  up,  on  the  outside  of  the  house,  and  with  sticks  filled  in  and  plas- 
tered over  with  mortar.  The  door  was  made  of  such  hoards  as  they  could 
split  from  the  trees,  and  was  hung  on  wooden  hinges,  and  had  wooden 
latches — the  hinges  and  latches  were  made  with  the  pocket  knife.  The 
latch  had  at  one  end  a  string  (1  presume  of  buckskin)  attached  to  it,  the 
other  end  passed  through  a  hole  in  the  door  over  the  latch — when  they 
wished  to  secure  their  house  at  night  they  pulled  in  the  latchstring. 

Father  had  a  compass  and  when  he  built  his  house  he  placed  it  with 
the  points  of  the  compass,  then  at  noon  the  sun  shone  straight  in  the 
door  or  window.  In  that  way  they  obtained  the  "noon  mark."  Mother 
had  several  marks  in  the  first  house,  to  mark  the  different  hours. 

They  made  their  own  brooms  by  taking  straight  young  hickory  trees, 
perhaps  three  inches  through,  peeling  off  the  bark,  then  with  their 
pocket  knives  they  commenced  on  the  end  ol  the  stick  they  .intended  for 
the  brush  part  and  peeled  the  stick  in  narrow  strips  or  splints  about  one- 
sixteenth  of  an  inch  thick,  and  fifteen  to  eighteen  inches  long.  The 
heart  of  the  stick  would  not  peel  and  that  was  cut  off,  leaving  a  stick 
about  three  inches  long  in  the  center  of  these  splints.  The  splints  being 
dropped  back  over  this  stick,  then  they  commenced  on  the  handle  end 
and  stripped  splints  toward  those  already  made,  and  long  enough  to 
cover  them,  when  the  stick  was  stripped  small  enough  for  the  handle, 
the  splints  were  all  tied  together  around  the  stick  left  in  the  center  of 
the  splints  first  stripped,  the  remainder  of  the  handle  was  then  stripped 
to  complete  the  handle. 

They  guarded  their  fire  carefully,  for  they  had  no  matches,  and  if 
their  fire  went  out  they  had  to  kindle  with  flint  and  steel,  or  go  to  a 
neighbor  and  boriow  fire. 

Mother  was  better  fitted  for  pioneer  life  than  some  of  the  settlers. 
She  knew  all  about  spinning,  weaving,  knitting,  coloring,  making  sugar, 
butter,  candles  and  soap,  and  the  use  of  a  fireplace  for  cooking,  all  of 
which  were  new  to  some  of  them.  She  spun,  colored,  wove,  cut  and 
made  our  woolen  clothing  and  blankets,  also  her  own  linen  for  house  use 
and  garments  for  the  family,  and  spun  her  linen  thread  for  sewing.  She 
often  spoke  of  the  hardships  of  others,  but  very  seldom  of  her  own. 

The  early  settlers  were  self-sacrificing  and  helpful.  In  sickness  and 
sorrow  they  would  do  all  in  their  power  for  each  other.  They  were  also 
hospitable,  often  inconveniencing  themselves  greatly  to  accommodate 
travelers  and  new  neighbors;  when  they  had  only  one  room,  they  would 
take  in  an  entire  family  to  stay  until  they  could  cut  logs  and  build  a 

—  186  — 


house  for  themselves. 

Their  nearest,  market  was  Chicago,  eighty  miles  distant,  taking  from 
Qve  to  seven  days  to  make  the  journey.  Often  when  the  father  was  away 
the  Indians  would  look  through  the  windowsatthe  family,  hut  they  never 
harmed  any  of  the  settlers  at  the  Grove. 

They  had  no  fruit  except  the  wild  fruit  in  the  Grove.  Father  carried 
the  first  currant  bushes  to  the  Grove  on  horseback  from  Nauvoo. 

The  nearest  flour  mill  was  Green's  mill  near  Ottawa,  Ills.  Also  woolen 
mill,  where  the  wool  was  made  into  rolls,  ready  for  spinning. 

Father  and  mother  used  to  go  to  meeting  on  the  same  horse,  father  in 
the  saddle,  mother  sitting  behind  him. 

Zachariah  Melugin  and  Abraham  Lincoln  were  warm  friends  during 
the  Black  Hawk  war.  After  the  war  Lincoln  visited  him,  spending  a 
day  and  night  with  him  at  grandfather's  home  in  Sangamon  county. 

Father  was  the  first  justice  of  the  peace,  and  also  the  first  school 
teacher;  teaching  in  his  own  house  until  the  first  school  house  was  built 
in  1837. 

Religious  services  were  held  in  private  houses  until  the  first  school 
house  was  built.  The  first  church  organized  was  the  Methodist  Episcopal 
(do  not  know  the  date).  The  first  Sunday  school  was  organized  by  Rev. 
Haney,  of  the  Methodist  Episcopal  church,  in  1847  or  1848  Cornelius 
Christiance  was  the  first  white  child  born  at  the  Grove,  John  Melugin 
the  second,  W.  W.  Gil  more  the  third,  all  born  1835. 

A.  ^i.  Christiance  was  the  first  post  master.  Charles  Morgan  and  son 
were  the  first  merchants,  and  kept  millinery.  Dr.  Bissel  was  the  first 
doctor  to  locate  there.  Henry  Vroman  was  the  first  tailor. 

AMELIA  G.  MCFARLAND. 


.  V. 


A.  V.  Christiance  was  born  in  Schenectady  county,  New  York,  in  1808. 
He  lived  in  the  east  until  he  was  twenty-seven  years  old.  His  health 
was  poor,  and  his  physician  advised  him  to  go  west;  he  took  his  advice 
and,  accordingly,  himself  and  his  young  wife,  started  for  the  west,  to  find 
a  home  and  regain  failing  health.  They  had  been  married  but  a  short 
time  and  their  earthly  possessions  were  not  very  extensive  -an  ox  team 
and  a  covered  wagon  containing  their  few  housekeeping  utensils,  con- 
sisting of  a  bed,  and  bedclothes,  a  few  dishes  and  kettles  and  such  like. 
They  journeyed  for  many  a  day  and  finally  reached  the  south  side  of 
Melugin's  Grove  one  summer  evening  just  as  the  sun  had  set  behind  the 
trees,  and  the  landscape  was  one  of  beauty  and  seemed  to  inspire  the 
heart  of  Mrs.  Christiance  with  admiration  and  to  promise  rest  and  a  home 
for  the  future.  So  she  said  to  her  husband,  who  was  preparing  to  camp 
for  the  night,  "let's  stay  her  and  take  up  a  claim,  this  is  the  best  place  we 
have  found  yet.  I  don't  want  to  travel  another  day." 

So  they  rested  till  the  morning  and  then  began  their  preparations  for 
a  home.  They  had  to  sleep  in  the  wagon  till  the  house  was  ready  and  the 
cooking  was  done  by  a  fire  made  of  wood  piled  up  on  the  ground.  In 
speaking  of  it  she  said: 

•'How  happy  I  felt  when  our  little  log  house  was  done.  It  was  not 
very  big, -as  there  was  only  one  other  man  in  the  Grove — or  near  there. 
That  was  Zachariah  Melugin.  We  had  our  pick  of  the  land  and  built  on 
the  south  side  of  the  Grove,  by  the  side  of  the  old  Chicago  and  Galena 
road.  We  kept  a  sort  of  tavern  for  the  accommodation  of  travelers — 
there  in  the  little  log  house  with  a  mud  chimney  and  a  fire  place  to  cook 
over  and  keep  warm  by." 

They  lived  until  they  could  afford  to  put  an  addition  made  of  logs  on 
one  side,  then  on  the  other  till  they  finally  got  money  and  means  to  build 
a  comfortable,  commodious  frame  farm  house.  There  the  first  white 
child  was  born  in  the  township,  and  they  named  him  Cornelius.  The  old 
Indian,  Shabbona,  used  to  stop  there  quite  frequently  and  talk,  and  tell 

—  188  - 


stories  of  the  Black  Hawk  war  and  how  he  helped  warn  the  settlers  and 
they  escaped  the  cruel  scalping  knife.  Roving  bands  of  Indians  used  to 
pass  by  the  house  and  Mrs.  Dr.  Carnahan,  who  lives  at  Compton,  a 
daughter  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Christiance,  said:  "I  have  seen  the  Indians 
lying  on  the  barroom  of  our  house  so  thick  you  could  not  walk  across 
without  stepping  on  them.  One  day  my  mother  went  to  the  door  and 
called  to  one  of  the  Indian's  dogs,  as  she  supposed,  to  feed  it,  but  my 
father  happened  to  come  to  the  door  just  then  and  told  her  it  was  a  wolf. 
She  was  about  to  let  it  in  and  feed  it.  She  shut  the  door  pretty  quick 
you  may  be  sure." 

Mr.  and  Mrs.  Christiance  continued  to  live  on  the  same  farm  arid  in 
the  same  place  till  her  death  twenty-two  years  ago,  and  there  sixteen 
children  were  born  to  them.  Mr.  Christiance  is  still  living  there  but  his 
mind  is  a  wreck.  Cornelius,  the  oldest  child  is  there  looking  after  his 
welfare,  having  been  appointed  conservator. 

Five  of  the  children  of  Mr.  Christiance  are  living,  two  daughters,  and 
three  sons. 

While  keeping  tavern  in  those  early  days  Mrs.  Christiance  used  to  have 
many  curious  guests.  She  was  a  lively  little  woman  and  I  have  heard 
her  tell  about  getting  meals  for  Joseph  Smith,  and  for  many  that  she  felt 
afraid  of,  and  whom  she  afterwards  learned  were  notorious  horse-thieves, 
and  members  of  the  banditti  of  the  prairie.  And  she  used  to  stay  alone 
for  days  at  a  time  while  her  husband  went  to  Chicago  for  groceries  or  to 
sell  a  load  of  grain  to  get  a  supply  of  things  they  must  have  in  order  to 
live. 

Life  was  hard  in  those  early  days — but  gay  in  a  certain  sort  of  way. 
The  woods  had  plenty  of  wild  game,  and  wild  fruit,  such  as  plums,  rasp- 
berries, blackberries  and  strawberries. 

Neighbors  were  far  apart,  but  after  going  ten  or  fifteen  miles,  borrow 
some  flour  and  visit  awhile,  or  to  exchange  newspapers,  how  glad  the  folks 
were  to  see  each  other.  And  then  if  you  happened  to  call  after  dark 
when  maybe  you  could  not  very  well  get  there  any  earlier,  the  neighbor 
did  not  excuse  herself,  instead  of  asking  her  neighbor  to  stay  over  night. 
Yes,  there  was  more  genuine  hospitality  in  those  old  pioneer  days  than 
there  is  now. 

MRS.  EZRA  BERRY. 


Samuel  Argrave  came  to  Lee  county  in  1845,  and  hired  out  to  work  on 
a  farm  by  the  month.  He  worked  in  this  way  one  year;  at  the  expiration 
of  that  time  he  entered  a  claim  in  the  south-west  quarter,  section  25,  in 
Viola  township.  He  erected  a  dwelling  on  it,  and  he  and  his  wife  had  to 
live  as  best  they  could  while  trying  to  get  a  start  in  life,  and  own  a  home 
of  their  own.  Their  first  furniture  was  mostly  what  he  made  with  his 
own  hands;  but  then  it  was  the  fashion  to  be  poor,  and  but  for  the  fact 
of  being  without  many  of  the  necessaries  of  life,  they  were  happy  in  their 
new  made  home  with  its  scant  furniture  and  many  inconveniences,  it 
was  their  home  and  for  four  years  they  lived  there  and  together  tried  to 
beautify  it  and  cultivate  the  land. 

In  1850  Mr.  Argrave  started  for  California  with  a  wagon,  and  traveled 
in  the  usual  way,  and  reached  the  golden  state  in  safety.  He  worked 
there  at  the  mining  business,  and  was  very  successful.  After  remaining 
two  years  he  returned  to  Melugin  to  his  family.  He  had  many  thrilling 
experiences  to  relate  on  his  return  home,  but  the  wife  who  remained  at 
home  in  the  new  country— what  of  her  life  during  those  early  days?  She 
said,  in  speaking  of  it,  >ll  have  known  what  it  is  to  want  for  the  many 
little  things  that  go  to  make  up  the  comforts  of  home,  and  had  it  not 
been  for  the  kindness  and  generosity  of  John  Gilmore  and  William 
Guthrie  I  don't  know  what  I  should  have  done;  but  thanks  to  their  kind- 
hearted  generous  help,  I  was  kept  from  becoming  destitute.  After  Mr. 
Argrave  returned  they  were  paid  for  their  kind  deeds.  But  California 
is  a  long  way  off,  and  in  those  days  it  was  a  long,  tedious  and  often-times 
a  perilous  journey.  So  this  help  was  given  me  without  any  guarantee 
of  reward,  because  who  could  say  what  might  happen  to  him.  Even  if 
he  made  money  and  started  for  home  he  might  never  get  home  with  it. 

His  safety  was  her  great  concern,  and  all  through  the  long  months 
that  made  the  years  her  anxious  heart,  pondered  the  question  over  and 
over  again;  will  he  ever  return?  And  one  glad  day  he  came  home  to 
his  loved  ones  with  means  enough  to  supply  all  their  wants,  and  prosper- 

—  190  — 


Ity  continued  to  smile  upon  his  effort  from  that  time  till  now.  In  1865 
he  enlisted  in  Company  I,  15th  Illinois  Infantry,  and  was  in  the  service 
eight  months.  They  have  four  children.  They  reside  at  Compton,  and 
are  well  supplied  with  the  comforts  and  luxuries  of  life.  The  winter 
(1892-3)  they  spent  in  Florida.  He  is  now  nearly  blind,  but  his 
faithful  wife  cares  for  him  so  tenderly.  His  comfort  is  her  first  thought, 
and  her  eyes  are  gladly  used  to  promote  his  happiness  and  wellfare. 

They  have  one  son  living  at  Compton,  Samuel  Argrave,  and  a 
daughter  living  there  also,  she  is  the  wife  of  Minor  M.  Avery,  and  a  son 
and  daughter  living  in  Viola  township,  Wintield  Argrave  and  Mrs.  Mary 
Hutch inson.  MRS.  E.  S.  BRAFFBT. 


In  the  month  of  April,  1848,  S.  W.  Carnahan  and  wife,  with  eight 
children,  started  by  team  from  Columbia  County,  Pennsylvania,  to  make 
the  then  long  and  to  be  dreaded  journey  by  team  to  our  new  home  at  Me- 
lugin's  Grove,  Lee  County,  Illinois.  This  place  we  reached  after  an  une- 
ventful journey  lasting  six  weeks.  Upon  reaching  our  destination  we 
found  a  temporary  abiding  place  in  the  shape  of  an  old  log  house  stand- 
ing on  the  east  side  of  the  Grove,  belonging  to  John  Gilmore,  which  had 
but  recently  been  vacated.  In  this  we  lived  until  fall,  where  father  pur- 
chased forty  acres  of  land  and  on  this  decided  to  build  a  home  of  our  own. 

With  no  lumber  yard  within  forty  miles,  and  the  nearest  saw  mill  at 
a  distance  of  ten  miles,  it  was  of  course  necessary  to  construct  the  house 
of  logs.  This  we  did,  building  a  flre  place  of  sticks  and  mortar  in  one 
end.  In  the  spring  he  placed  a  land  warrant  on  an  adjoining  160  acres 
of  land,  to  which  in  due  course  of  time  he  received  a  patent  from  the 
government.  The  following  fall  we  sent,  by  a  neighbor  who  was  hauling 
a  load  of  grain  to  Chicago,  for  a  cook-stove,  for  which  we  paid  less  than 
$20,  including  all  the  necessary  furniture — a  price  that  compares  favorably 
with  a  like  article  at  the  present  time.  This,  with  our  new  house,  com- 
bined to  make  the  following  severe  winter  more  easily  endured  than  the 
first  we  spent  in  that  country. 

Father  being  a  carpenter  was  called  upon  several  times  during  this 
winter  to  make  coffins  for  neighbors  who  had  died.  I  remember  one  in 
particular  that  he  made  for  a  woman  who  died  at  Twin  Grove,  eight 
miles  from  where  we  lived.  I  accompanied  father  when  we  went  to  de- 
liver it,  driving  two  horses  hitched  to  a  sled;  by  the  time  we  reached  the 
house  a  violent  snow  storm  had  set  in,  and  against  the  advice  of  our  host, 
we  started  on  our  eight  mile  drive  across  the  prairie,  facing  the  blinding 
storm  and  without  a  single  track  to  guide  us.  When  about  half-way 
home  one  of  the  horses  floundered  into  an  open  well,  but  was  prevented 
by  the  harness  from  going  to  the  bottom.  By  the  united  efforts  of  father 
and  myself  we  finally  succeeded  in  getting  it  out,  and  starting  again  on 

—  192  — 


our  journey,  reached  home  after  dark,  greatly  to  the  relief  of  the  anxious 
ones  awaiting  us  there. 

During  the  summer  season  the  grass  covered  the  prairies  from  three 
to  four  feet  in  height,  and  during  my  first  terra  of  school  taught  at^ 
Knox's  Grove,  it  was  no  uncommon  thing  to  have  from  ten  to  twelve  rat- 
tlesnakes cross  my  path  while  going  from  my  hoarding  place  to  the  school 
house.  As  this  was  during  the  days  when  teachers  "boarded  around" 
the  distance  of  course  cannot  he  definitely  stated. 

Our  family  not  being  among  the  very  first  to  move  into  the  country, 
did  not  experience  so  many  of  the  hardships  incident  to  the  life  of  the 
first  pioneer.  A  store  only  one-half  mile  distant  furnished  us  with  all 
necessary  groceries,  while  pork  could  be  had,  brought  to  the  door  for  one 
and  one-half  cents  per  pound.  Good  milch  cows  could  be  purchased 
reasonably,  the  first  one  father  boughtcosting  hut  thirteen  dollars.  When 
1  taught  school  and  "boarded  around,"  the  wages  could  hardly  be  called 
"first  class"  at  the  present  day,  as  two  dollars  was  the  remuneration 
granted  for  each  week's  service,  and  that  to  be  collected  from  the  patrons 
of  the  school,  each  family  paying  according  to  the  number  of  pupils  sent. 

HARRIET  CARNAHAN  MCELYSA. 


The  following  verses  were  written  in  1836  or  '37  by  Mr.  Melugin,  after 
whom  Melugin's  Grove  was  named.  They  were  printed  in  the  Rock  River 
Register,  which  was  the  first  paper  printed  on  Rock  River. 

Come  leave  the  fields  of  childhood 

Worn  out  by  long  employ. 
And  travel  west  and  settle 

In  the  state  of  Illinois; 
Your  family  is  growing  up, 

Your  boy's  you  must  employ, 
Come  till  the  rich  prairies 

In  the  state  of  Illinois. 

It's  on  Chicago  river. 

Near  to  the  border  line. 
A  fine  commercial  city 

CHICAGO  you  may  find, 
It's  like  old  Adams'  castle, 

Sprung  up  the  other  day, 
And  stripped  the  rag  from  off  the  bush 

Of  Michigan,  I  aye  ! 

A  little  further  westward. 
Near  to  the  Land  of  Mines, 

—  193  — 


Upon  the  Mississippi, 

GALENA  you  may  find; 
A  ride  upon  the  railroad 

Pull  soon  you  may  enjoy, 
And  cross  at  Dixon's  Ferry, 

In  the  state  of  Illinois. 

Down  on  Rock  River, 

Such  land  was  never  known— 
If  Adam  should  cross  over  it, 

The  soil  he'd  surely  own; 
He'd  say  it  was  the  garden 

He  lived  in  when  a  boy, 
And  straight  pronounce  it  Eden. 

In  the  state  of  Illinois. 

Then  move  your  family  westward, 
Good  health  you'll  there  enjoy, 

And  rise  to  wealth  and  honor 
In  the  state  of  Illinois. 

Chorus: 

Then  come  along,  come  along  I  say; 

Come  from  every  nation,  come  from  every  way. 

Then  come  along,  don't  you  be  alarmed 

Then  come  along,  don't  you  be  alarmed, 

For  Uncle  Sam  is  rich  enough  to  give  us  all  a  farm. 

Preserved  and  contributed  by  Dr.  U.  Roe,  Franklin  Grove. 


o 


] 


"Motfier" 


IT  is  customary  to  speak  in  glowing  terms  of  the  men  who  brave  the 
dangers  and  endure  the  hardships  of  a  new  country,  passing  over  the 
ones  who  silently  endure  the  hardships  and  privations  making  rough 
places  smooth  for  them  whenever  it  is  in  their  power  to  do  so.  What 
would  our  great  country  be  now,  if  the  wife  had  not  toiled  silently  by  the 
side  of  the  sturdy  pioneer  and  cheered  him  by  her  loving  presence,  guarded 
and  directed  him  by  her  wise  counsels,  or  helped  with  her  ever  ready 
hand  at  tasks  that  were  too  hard  for  frail  woman?  If  their  history  could 
only  be  written,  what  a  story  of  self-sacrifice,  silent  endurance  and  dis- 
play of  courage  it  would  present:  for  way  down  in  their  hearts  they  suf- 
fered daily  tortures  that  not  even  their  husbands  dreamed  of — home- 
sickness, loss  of  friends,  privations  found  only  in  new  countries — and 
went  down  to  their  graves  unmentioned.  The  unwritten  history  of  this 
country  is  full  of  these  silent  martyrs. 

The  subject  of  my  sketch,  Sarah  Gray  Whitney,  was  one  of  these 
women.  Born  in  1791  near  Pittsburgh,  Pennsylvania,  in  her  early  child- 
hood she  moved  with  her  father's  family  to  the  western  part  of  New 
York,  then  a  wilderness.  Here  she  lived  and  grew  up  to  womanhood, 
when  she  married  Nathan  Whitney,  The  first  two  years  of  her  married 
life  she  spent  with  her  husband  at  the  father's,  for  he  was  not  of  age  and 
the  stern  old  gentleman  required  him  to  work  his  time  out.  Then  she 
moved  with  him  upon  a  new  place  that  had  to  be  cleared,  for  it  was  for- 
est land.  They  had  not  been  there  long  before  the  War  of  1812  broke  out, 
and  when  her  husband  was  drafted  into  the  army  she  was  left  alone  with 
her  infant  as  were  most  of  the  neighbor  women;  for  only  the  old  men 
who  were  too  infirm  to  handle  a  musket,  or  boys  who  were  too  young, 
were  left  at  home. 

Before  her  husband  left  for  the  war  he  had  succeeded  in  getting  a 
woman  with  her  child,  whose  husband  had  also  been  drafted,  to  stay 
with  her;  but  one  day  an  Indian  was  seen  in  the  cornfield  near  the  house 
gathering  roasting  ears,  which  so  frightened  the  women,  that  each 

—  197  — 


seized  her  little  child  and  ran  to  a  neighbor's  for  protection,  where  there 
were  two  boys  about  twelve  and  fourteen  years  of  age.  Each  boy  seized 
a  musket  and  went  in  search  of  the  Indian,  who  had  disappeared,  which 
was  fortunate  for  him  for  had  he  been  found  he  would  certainly  have  been 
fired  upon  by  the  boys.  After  that  her  companion  could  not  be  persuaded 
to  enter  the  house  again,  even  when  she  knew  the  Indian  had  no  evil 
intent. 

The  rest  of  the  time  until  the  close  of  the  war  she  spent  alone,  endur- 
ing the  hardships  of  securing  the-crops,  constantly  on  the  lookout  for  an 
Indian  attack  and  suffering  great  anxiety  for  her  husbands  safety. 

After  the  war,  when  her  husband  had  returned,  by  her  industry  and 
frugality,  she  helped  amass  a  comfortable  fortune;  for  while  her  bus-band 
labored  hard  in  the  fields  she  was  always  busy  with  her  household  cares, 
spinning  or  weaving,  making  cloth  for  dresses  for  her  ever  increasing 
family;  for  she  was  the  mother  of  ten  children,  seven  of  whom  (six  daugh- 
ters and  one  son)  grew  up  to  manhood  and  womanhood.  Then,  too,  the 
linen  had  to  all  be  provided  by  the  wife's  hands  after  preparing  the  flax 
and  spinning  it.  She  would  weave  it  into  sheets,  and  table  linen  of 
"bird's  eye"  and  "diamond"  paterns,  with  heavy  fringes,  some  of  them  a 
quarter  of  a  yard  deep,  knotted  and  tied  by  her  own  hands.  This  had  to 
be  combed  out,  which  was  usually  done  after  the  children  and  men  of 
the  house  were  sleeping  soundly  in  their  beds.  When  her  daughters  were 
old  enough  to  go  to  school  there  were  white  aprons  and  white  sunbonnets, 
all  ruffled,  that  had  to  be  starched  and  ironed,  for  six  little  girls,  the 
ruffles  crimped  and  fluted,  after  the  children  were  in  their  beds  or  while 
she  was  "resting."  Think  of  the  yards  of  hemming  and  making  that 
was  done  in  those  days,  one  stitch  at  a  time,  and  compare  it  to  our  own 
swift-running  sewing  machines  that  can  do  more  work  in  an  hour's  time 
than  could  then  be  accomplished  in  a  day.  Then,  too,  the  amount  of 
butter  and  cheese  made  by  her  without  ever  a  thought  of  the  amount  of 
work  she  was  doing  would  fairly  appall  a  wo^rnan  of  later  days,  for  even 
with  our  creameries  and  cheese  factories  we  are  apt  to  groan  over  the 
amount  of  work  to  be  done  with  the  help  of  all  our  modern  improve- 
ments. 

Of  course  the  little  girls  had  to  be  taught  to  work,  for  she  was  a  strict 
disciplinarian,  believing  firmly  that  "Satan  finds  mischief  for  idle  hands 
to  do,"  and  she  could  always  find  employment  for  her  children,  keeping 
even  the  youngest  busy  if  necessary  and  at  the  same  time  never  stopping 
her  own  busy  hands.  Then  after  all  these  years  of  hard  work  she  had 
the  mortification  of  seeing  her  home  sold  to  pay  the  debts  of  another 

-  198  - 


that  her  husband  had  signed  for.  Leaving  a  large  brick  house  (which 
was  a  constant  regret  to  her  all  her  life)  moving  from  Albion  to  Elba, 
where  another  new  house  was  erected  and  a  comfortable  home  established 
when  after  a  few  years  her  husband  sold  out,  this  time  settling  in  Union- 
ville,  Ohio,  then  the  boundary  of  civilization. 

Here  after  a  residence  of  a  few  years  she  had  to  again  endure  nearly 
the  same  experience  of  the  first  home,  for  her  husband  met  with  nearly 
the  same  misfortunes  in  mercantile  business,  in  which  he  had  at  this 
time  engaged.  By  trusting  others  too  far  he  lost  nearly  all  of  his  pro- 
perty again.  But  before  they  again  started  westward  it  was  decided 
that  in  the  new  home  they  would  engage  in  the  nursery  business.  With 
that  prudent  forethought  that  was  her  characteristic,  she  with  the  aid 
of  her  little  son  (A.  R.  Whitney  of  Franklin  Grove  nursery)  washed  out 
apple  seeds,  saving  a  half  bushel  for  the  first  start,  not  forgetting  cherries, 
plums  and  peaches.  The  apple  seeds,  only,  grew  well. 

Then  the  journey  from  Unionville,  Ohio,  began  in  January,  1838,  end- 
ing in  Illinois  February  8,  1838.  It  was  one  of  many  hardships,  as  the 
swamps  were  almost  impassable,  mud  prevailing  most  of  the  way  until 
near  the  end,  when  it  froze  up,  and  the  distance  from  Inlet  to  Franklin 
Grove  was  made  in  sleighs,  where  the  Colonel  met  the  family,  he  having 
started  west  several  months  before  to  look  up  a  claim  and  prepare  a 
habitation  for  them. 

The  first  house  the  family  moved  into  was  a  Jog  cabin  situated  down 
in  the  grove,  where  a  family  of  ten  occupied  a  house  about  sixteen  feet 
square,  which  had  two  beds  In  it.  These  were  occupied  by  the  Colonel 
and  his  wife  and  their  daughter  and  her  husband,  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Gregory. 
There  was  a  low  room  up  stairs  that  was  used  as  a  sleeping  room  by  the 
other  members  of  the  family,  and  it  was  no  unusual  occurrence  for  the 
occupants  to  have  to  shake  the  snow  from  the  bed  clothes  in  the  morning 
before  they  could  arise,  or  to  amuse  themselves  by  counting  the  stars 
through  the  cracks  in  the  roof  as  they  lay  awake  listening  to  the  roar  of 
the  winds. 

It  was  here  her  great  executive  ability  was  again  displayed,  making 
partitions  of  blankets  and  such  articles  as  came  handy,  cooking  for  a 
large  family  over  a  flre  place,  making  bread  and  biscuit  that  were  the 
envy  and  admiration  of  more  than  one  good  housewife,  using  the  old 
fashioned  tin  oven  or  reflector  for  baking  or  an  oven  built  outside  of  the 
house,  made  of  clay  (as  no  brick  could  be  procured  at  that  time),  provid- 
ing lights  by  making  the  old  fashioned  "witches,"  until  she  could  get 
tallow  to  make  candles,  which  she  did  by  dipping  them  or  running  the 

—  199  — 


tallow  into  earthen  molds,  of  which  two  out  of  a  dozen  are  still  in  exist- 
ence1. For  lamps  those  in  which  lard  could  be  used  for  oil  were  substi- 
tuted for  candles,  when  farmers  were  well  enough  off  to  raise  their  pork. 
On  one  occasion  some  member  of  the  family  killed  some  large  owls,  and 
when  Mrs.  Whitney  tried  out  the  fat,  which  yielded  a  small  quantity  of 
oil  which  she  used  in  the  lamp  it  also  occasioned  considerable  sport  for 
some  of  the  mischievous  members  of  the  family;  for  one  of  the  daughters 
had  an  ardent  admirer  who  would  prolong  his  evening  call  to  such  an 
extent  that  the  "owls  grease"  was  recommended  to  her  to  "rub  on  his 
eyes  so  he  could  see  his  way  home  earlier." 

The  new  house  on  the  prairie  was  raised,  and  by  May  it  was  completed 
eno  igh  so  the  family  could  move  into  it.  All  the  timbers  in  it  were  cut 
from  trees  in  the  grove  at  Franklin,  and  hewn  into  proper  shape  by  Col- 
onel Nathan  Whitney;  even  the  shingles  and  siding  and  the  first  floor  of 
loose  boards  were  split  out  by  him,  but  the  permanent  floor  of  matched 
boards  was  sawed  by  a  mill  down  in  the  grove.  It  was  when  completed, 
(which  took  a  year's  hard  labor)  one  of  the  most  comfortable  farm  houses 
in  this  section,  although  it  was  not  plastered  for  several  years  after  they 
moved  into  it,  for  of  course  lime  and  other  material  for  plastering  could 
n6t  easily  be  obtained.  The  family  were  better  fixed  than  many  who 
first  came  here,  for  Mrs.  Whitney  had  six  chairs  taken  apart  and  packed 
in  the  wagons  when  they  moved  from  Ohio,  and  the  colonel  put  them 
together  again  after  they  arrived  here.  So  they  enjoyed  the  comfort  of 
three  rocking  chairs  and  three  other  chairs  which  of  course  was  prefer, 
able  to  the  three  legged  stools  and  benches  which  were  also  used. 

Comparative  comfort  began  again  after  moving  into  the  new  house. 
It  was  here  she  used  her  first  cook  stove. 

When  spring  came,  and  it  was  very  early  that  year,  for  many  spring 
flowers  appeared  in  March,  the  young  ladies  of  the  family  found  special 
enjoyment  in  the  great  flower  garden  that  nature  provided  with  such  a 
lavish  hand  upon  these  vast  prairies.  It  seemed  as  if  no  spot  was  too 
poor  or  mean  to  produce  some  tiny  blossom.  One  young  lady  excelled  in 
snake  hunting,  sometimes  appearing  before  her  frightened  sisters  with 
fourteen  snakes  hung  over  a  long  stick.  These  snakes  she  had  killed 
during  a  short  walk  along  the  creek — remarking  that  she  "did  not  kill 
the  half  she  saw  for  the  ground  was  literally  alive  with  them,"  as  they 
had  crawled  out  to  sun  themselves  on  the  warm  bank  of  the  stream. 

"Yes,  these  were  the  happiest  days  of  my  life."  remarked  one  who  is 
old  and  gray  haired  now,  when  she  recalls  the  old  pioneer  days. 

One  great  curiosity  to  the  new  settlers  was  the  "drumming"  of  the 

—  200  - 


prairie  chickens.  It  was  a  long1  time  before  they  Could  determine  where 
the  peculiar  noise  came  from.  Occasionally  a  herd  of  deer  would  appear 
near  the  house  and  a  little  fawn  was  once  a  household  pet.  Wolves,  tooi 
at  that  time  were  very  common,  their  howling  making  the  chills  run 
over  one,  although  they  were  not  a  very  formidable  foe.  A  little  east  of 
the  old  house  is  a  large  bank  of  the  purest  sand,  varying  in  color  from 
pure  white  to  pink,  green,  yellow,  etc.;  and  here  it  was  that  material  for 
scouring  the  floor  was  found.  Nature,  too,  provided  fruits  very  bounti- 
fully then,  although  the  variety  was  not  very  great,  but  blackberries,  wild 
plums  and  even  the  wild  crabapple  were  used  for  sauce,  when  sugar  could 
be  obtained;  excursions  for  gathering  these  fruits  were  always  enjoyable 
affairs,  especially  if  some  new  acquaintance  was  made,  for  the  people 
then  were  more  open-hearted  and  social  than  now.  Each  one  was  about 
as  rich  as  his  neighbor. 

One  of  the  first  things  that  was  done  in  the  spring  was  to  break  up  a 
plar-e  to  plant  the  apple  seeds  which  had  been  frozen  and  sprouted  by  Col- 
Whitney. 

As  the  years  passed  new  furniture  was  added  and  the  new  home  en- 
larged but  of  course  it  was  riot  done  with  the  ease  that  such  things  are 
done  now  adays;  for  Chicago  was  the  nearest  market  for  many  years  and 
wheat  only  fiftj  cents  a  bushel,  and  everything  purchased  there  was 
high  priced. 

As  new  friends  were  made  and  her  motherly  love  and  sympathy  dis- 
played, she  became  "Mother"  to  all  who  knew  her.  There  is  many  a 
young  man  who,  being  without  friends  to  care  for  him,  can  thank  her  for 
nursing  him  during  illness,  for  it  was  no  uncommon  occurrence  for  Dr. 
Nash  to  drive  out  from  Dixon  and  say  to  her,  "Mother  there  is  a  young 
man  sick  down  in  the  Grove  (or  elsewhere)  and  if  you  don't  take  him  in 
and  care  for  him  he  will  die;"  and  "mother,"  ever  ready  to  respond  to  the 
suffering  of  others,  would  inconvenience  herself,  take  him  home  and 
nurse  him  back  to  life  and  health  again.  Yes,  many  a  poor  starving 
heart,  that  had  left  home  and  mother  in  the  east,  found  motherly  love 
and  sympathy  in  her  presence. 

After  the  daughters  were  married,  Harriet  to  James  McKenney,  Eliza 
Ann  to  Daniel  McKenney,  and  Cornelia  to  Ahram  Brown,  and  grand 
children  began  to  arrive  what  a  place  of  pleasure  the  old  house  was  for 
"mother" — no  grandchild  ever  called  her  grandmother— was  ever  indulg- 
ent to  their  whims.  Only  occasionally  some  of  the  oldest  grandchildren 
can  remember  their  pleasure  being  marred  by  the  appearance  of  a  hunt- 
ing party  of  Indians,  whose  red  blankets  they  thought  were  covered  with 

—  201  — 


the  blood  of  their  victims,  and  they  fled  for  safety  under  "mother's"  bed, 
seeking  protection  behind  the  old  fashioned  valance  that  hung  down  to 
the  floor.  Another  childish  horror  was  an  ancient  Hibernian  who  lived 
not  far  away,  who  would  put  in  an  appearance  now  and  then,  and  who 
seeing  the  little  children  clinging  to  mother's  skirts  in  childish  fear  would 
add  to  it  by  taking  off  his  cap  and  repeating  some  gibberish  into  it  and 
end  by  saying  that  he  "had  a  cellar  with  two  rooms  in  it  where  he  cut  off 
naughty  girls  heads  and  put  their  head  in  one  room  and  their  bodies  in 
another  for  the  cats  to  eat."  Truly  he  was  a  veritable  "Bruin"  or  "Blue- 
beard" to  their  childish  imaginations;  although  in  reality  he  was  a  kind- 
hearted  man,  but  "mother"  saved  them,  so  they  thought. 

It  is  one  of  their  childish  remembrances,  too,  that  brings  up  the  little 
bag  that  hung  on  the  post  at  the  head  of  her  bed  for  preserving  apple 
seeds  when  the  apple  trees  began  to  bear,  and  which  seed  was  used  for 
enlarging  the  nursery.  So  it  will  be  seen  that  the  great  nursery  that 
now  stands  on  the  old  place  is  a  living  monument  to  her  industry  and 
forethought.  And  oh!  the  cakes  and  turnovers  she  made  for  them,  was 
there  ever  anything  half  so  delicious  since?  These  and  many  other  child- 
ish impressions  can  now  be  recalled  that  are  pleasant  to  dwell  upon. 

Always  living  on  the  outskirts  of  civilization,  never  realizing  what  her 
fondest  expectations  had  hoped  for,  seeing  the  accumulations  of  years 
swept  away  from  her,  she  lived  an  example  of  heroic  fortitude  worthy  to 
be  followed  by  the  best.  Ah,  yes,  she  was  of  such  stuff  as  generals  are 
made  of.  She  died  at  the  age  of  seventy-two,  beloved  and  honored  by  all 
who  knew  her. 

If  I  have  not  written  in  full  of  Colonel  Whitney  it  is  not  through  disre- 
spect or  disloyalty,  for  everyone  knows  he  helped  make  history,  and  our 
county  bears  evidence  of  his.abilty.  Everyone  knows  he  lived  over  a 
century,  a  grand  old  man  whose  life  was  one  long  effort  to  do  good*  Yes 
a  hundred  years  of  well-doing  that  was  not  marred  by  unjust  or  evil  acts, 
and  nothing  that  I  can  say  will  add  anything  to  its  lustre.  Men  build, 
but  women  lay  the  foundations. 

ONE  or  "MOTHER"  WHITNEY'S  GRANDCHILDREN. 


Amos  Elussey  was  one  of  the  early  settlers  of  Lee  County  and  was  for 
more  than  half  a  century  a  valued  citizen  of  Franklin  Grove.  The  tract 
of  land  which  he  purchased  from  the  government,  the  deed  for  which 
was  signed  by  James  K.  Polk,  becaiue  one  of  the  finest  farms  in  the 
township.  Mr.  Hussey  was  born  in  Little  York,  York  County,  Pa.,  in 
1806;  he  was  married  in  1834  to  Jane  Fredonia  Holly,  who  was  the 
first  while  child  born  in  Fredonia,  New  York. 

In-making  honorable  mention  of  Amos  Hussey  it  is  but  just  that  we 
should  equally  honor  the  memory  of  his  noble  wife. 

Through  all  the  hardships  of  a  pioneer  life  her  cheerful  courage  never 
faltered,  while  her  zeal  and  energy  seemed  inexhaustible. 

Money  was  scarce  in  those  early  days,  as  well  as  helpful  machinery 
for  the  cultivation  of  their  land,  and  the  early  settlers  used  to  take  their 
grain  to  Peru  and  later  to.Chicago  with  their  own  teams.  What  stories 
of  those  early  experiences  we  have  heard  them  relate  illustrating  so  viv- 
idly the  constant  struggle  against  adverse  circumstances!  but  their  en- 
ergy, industry  and  pat»ent  endurance  were  rewarded.  In  time  Mr.  Hus- 
sey  became  the  owner  of  two  hundred  and  forty  acres  of  land,  on  which 
he  made  substantial  improvements  and  enjoyed  a  pleasant  home.  He 
was  a  man  whose  strict  adherence  to  principle  made  him  universally 
trusted  and  respected.  In  early  life  he  was  politically  a  Whig  and  later 
a  staunch  supporter  of  the  Republican  policy.  Religiously  he  was  a 
Quaker,  while  his  wife  was  a  Presbyterian— one  of  the  organizers  of  that 
socirtv  in  Franklin  Grove.  ELLA  E.  HUSSEY. 


Gf  T 


On  the  twenty-sixth  day  of  December,  1834,  Dr.  John  Roe  and  family, 
consisting  of  a  wife  and  flve  boys,  crossed  the  Illinois  river  enroute  for 
the  Rock  river  valley.  The  first  stopping  place  was  Knox's  Grove,  which 
they  reached  at  ten  o'clock  at  night.  The  Vermilion  river  was  frozen, 
and  altogether  the  journey  was  one  of  extreme  difficulty.  Little  Uriah, 
ten  years  of  age,  drove  flve  pigs.  He  walked,  having  the  only  pair  of 
shoes  among  the  children.  These  were  rough  and  clumsy,  made  by  a 
shoemaker  who  came  to  their  house,  and  the  soles  cut  from  the  skirts  of 
a  saddle.  The  other  four  boys,  Frank,  John,  Bolivar  and  Matthew,  had 
their  feet  wrapped  in  rags,  and  huddled  close  in  the  bedding  to  keep 
warm. 

The  next  stopping  place  was  Bliss'  Grove,  and  starting  from  thence 
next  morning,  facing  a  northwestern  storm,  the  boy  cried  that  he  could 
drive  the  pigs  no  further.  He  was  freezing  and  they  were  obliged  to  re- 
turn and  lay  over  at  the  cabin  in  Bliss' Grove  two  or  three  days.  They 
came  up  to  the  present  site  of  Washington  Grove,  making  their  un- 
guided  way  as  best  they  could.  There  was  no  other  way  except  the  Kel- 
loge's  trail  and  Bole's  trail,  which  ran  too  far  to  the  west. 

There  were  three  families  living  thereabouts,  those  of  Smith,  Fay 
and  Blackmore.  This  was  the  early  winter  of  1835  and  the  family 
stopped  at  Blackmoor's,  as  they  had  pre-arranged.  The  cabin  was  sixteen 
feet  square,  with  a  blanket  for  a  door,  no  floor,  and  not  a  nail  in  it.  The 
Roe  family  numbered  seven  and  the  Blackmore  nine— there  were  sixteen 
persons  in  the  sixteen  feet  square  cabin.  Mrs.  Blackmore,  the  grand- 
mother, died  in  1835  at  an  advanced  age. 

Their  neighbor  Fay  had  a  cabin  near  the  spring  on  the  Paddock  farm, 
and  had  dug  a  winding  passage  from  his  cabin  for  a  hundred  feet  to  a 
covert,  from  which  he  hoped  to  escape  in  case  of  an  Indian  attack. 

In  the  spring  the  doctor  sold  one  yoke  of  oxen.  The  hogs  were  turned 
in  the  woods  to  fatten  on  the  acorns,  when  killed  they  readily  sold  at 
twenty-one  dollars  a  hundred.  Corn  cost  two  and  a  half  dollars  a  bushel. 

—  204  — 


He  made  one  hundred  sugar  troughs  and  tapped  sugar  maples  in  the 
center  of  the  grove  about  the  twentieth  of  February.  From  this  labor 
he  secured  one  thousand  pounds  of  sugar,  one  barrel  of  molasses  and  two 
barrels  of  vinegar,  made  by  letting  the  sap  sour  in  the  sum. 

He  built  a  cabin  and  later  added  another,  making  it  double,  near  the 
route  between  Dixon  and  Rockford.  It  soon  began  to  be  known  through 
the  settlement  that  the  house  on  the  hill  where  there  was  always  a  light 
burning  at  night  was  the  Doctor's  house,  and  toward  it  they  came  from 
all  directions. 

This  was  the  origin  of  the  name  Lighthouse,  which  clings  to  the  neigh- 
borhood yet.  Another  way  to  distinguish  their  cabin  in  summer  was  the 
brown  leaves  and  dead  branches  of  four  acres  of  "girdled"  trees  which 
surrounded  it.  A  great  tree  near  was  also  a  signal  of  the  way  to  the 
cabin.  For  years  and  years,  early  and  late,  through  winter  and  sum- 
mer, the  doctor  rode  over  the  region  around,  administering  medicine, 
advice  and  good  cheer,  indeed,  like  his  Master,  he  went  about  doing  good. 

Speaking  of  the  rarity  of  the  atmosphere  Dr.  U.  C.  Roe  says  on  a 
clear,  cold  morning  from  their  elevated  location  they  could  plainly  see 
the  smoke  curl  up  from  the  cabins  in  Franklin  Grove,  and  distinguish 
the  tall  trees  near  Melugin's  Grove.  Their  cabin  was  twenty  feet  square, 
with  roof  of  shakes  four  feet  long,  held  on  with  logs.  There  was  not  a 
nail  in  it.  The  fireplace  was  of  stone  broken  out  of  the  ledge,  a  stick- 
chimney,  daubed  with  mud.  The  walls  were  all  chinked  with  mud.  The 
boys  sleeping  up  in  the  loft  sometimes  were  covered  with  six  inches  of 
snow  which  drifted  in,  in  the  night. 

In  the  summer  of  1835-36  Miss  Chloe  Benedict,  a  daughter  of  Mrs. 
James  Clark  and  afterwards  wife  of  Rev.  Barton  Cartwright,  taught 
school  in  a  log-house.  In  the  winter  of  1836-37  Mr.  John  Colyier  taught. 
In  1837-38  an  Irishman,  a  Mr.  Graham,  taught  a  large  school  of  some 
forty  pupils  in  the  Roe  cabin.  Mr.  Graham  was  a  very  capable  teacher 
who  sharpened  quills  into  satisfactory  pens,  smoked  constantly  and  was 
an  excellent  penman.  One  class  was  Uriah  Roe  and  Miua  Wood,  now 
Mrs.  John  R.  Chapman  of  Franklin  Grove.  They  read  in  "The  History 
of  Christ." 

To  this  school  came,  beside  the  five  Roe  children,  Mina  Wood;  Har- 
low,  Rielly  and  Bradford,  Daniel  McKinney's  children;  Clinton,  John 
McKinney's  son;  Richard,  Morton,  Theodore  and  Hutchinson,  Richard 
McKinney's  children;  John  Whitson,  Cyrus  Brown,  Almeda  Brown  (later 
Mrs.  U.  C.  Roe),  Parker  and  Elizabeth  Plantz,  Henry  and  James  Martin, 
Rufus  and  Emily  Wood  (later  Mrs.  George  H.  Taylor  of  Franklin  Grove.) 

—  205  — 


The  seats  and  school  apparatus  were  very  scanty  or  altogether  want- 
ing, but  one  scholar  affirms  it  was  one  of  the  best  schools  he  ever  at- 
tended. 

In  the  winter  of  1837-38  C.  B.  Farwell,  now  the  Chicago  millionaire, 
taught  the  first  term  in  the  "Red  School  House." 

In  February,  '36,  a  man  came  to  Dr.  Eoe's  cabin  asking  for  help.  He 
had  started  from  Rockford  for  Prophetstown,  following  the  Indian  trail, 
and  while  fording  Kite  creek  his  oxen  had  been  caught  in  the  ice  and  his 
wagon  box  had  floated  off  with  his  wife,  children,  and  a  chest  in  which 
was  concealed  a  pocketbook  containing  five  hundred  dollars  in  "Joe 
Smith's  currency." 

He  had  freed  the  oxen  and  they  were  probably  on  their  way  to  their 
home.  The  wagon  box  had  lodged  at  an  island.  To  this  the  Doctor 
swam  again  and  again  until  the  woman  and  children  were  safe  on  dry 
land,  but  the  chest  had  burst  open,  the  pocketbook  fallen  into  the  water, 
and  could  not  be  found. 

The  family  were  kindly  cared  for  at  the  Roe  cabin,  and.  next  morning 
little  Uriah  was  sent  to  tell  the  story  of  the  disaster  to  the  stranger's 
brother.  It  was  quite  an  undertaking  for  a  boy  of  eleven  to  go  so  far 
alone,  but  he  trudged  along  till  he  came  to  the  battle-field  at  Stillman's 
Run,  and  then  in  the  long  grass,  partially  covered  with  snow,  he  saw 
skulls  and  bones  which  wolves  and  badgers  had  dug  up,  Scared  at  the 
awful  sight,  the  story  of  the  battle  fresh  in  his  mind,  as  he  says  his  "hair 
fairly  stood  up  on  his  head." 

But  he  did  not  turn  back,  and  reached  his  journey's  end  in  time  to 
eat  supper  with  the  bachelor  brother  of  the  stranger,  in  the  only  house 
in  what  is  now  the  city  of  Rockford. 

The  supper  was  of  "johnny  cake,"  cucumbers  and  salt,  and  was,  he 
said,  the  ''best  supper  he  ever  ate  in  his  life."  The  pleasure  of  seeing  a 
living  man,  added  to  a  boy's  keen  appetite,  made  it  so — and  then,  too, 
while  he  had  had  corn  bread  and  pork  for  his  lunch  on  the  way,  this  was 
johnny  cake,  so  there  was  the  sauce  of  variety. 

The  oxen  were  there  as  soon  as  he,  and  they  brought  them  and  the  boy 
to  Dr.  Roe's. 

About  a  vear  after  a  fisherman  found  the  lost  pocketbook  in  the  creek. 
With  great  care  the  soaked  bills  were  put  together,  so  that  they  were 
redeemed,  the  man  found  and  the  money  restored  to  him. 

That  he  was  grateful  to  Dr.  Roe  for  such  kindnesses  goes  without 
saying. 

Mrs.  Roe  had  at  one  time  a  pretty  pet  deer,  of  which  she  was  very 

—  206  — 


fond,  and  which  was  always  very  gentle.  She  made  a  red  collar  for  it, 
that  it  might  not  be  injured  by  hunters,  as  it  ran  in  the  grove. 

One  day  she  had  invited  quite  a  large  tea  party  of  ladies,  gentlemen 
and  children.  She  had  spent  considerable  time  in  preparing  for  the 
great  event,  and  set  her  table  in  the  space  between  the  cabins,  to  have 
ample  accommodation. 

Just  as  they  were  ready  to  take  their  place,  the  pet  deer  came  bound- 
ing up,  frightened  by  some  boys,  seeking  Mrs.  Roe's  protection. 

It  sprang  to  her  side  across  the  table,  scattering  the  feast  in  every  di- 
rection, breaking  the  dishes,  and  almost  spoiling  the  supper. 

But  I  presume,  like  Mrs.  Ingalls,  she  soon  had  another  ready,  which 
was  eaten  with  even  better  appetite  than  the  first  would  have  been. 

According  to  the  best  data  Cummings  Noe  built  the  first  cabin  in 
China  township,  in  1835  or  '36. 

This  cabin,  called  the  "Noe  House,"  stood  about  eighty  rods  north  of 
where  W.  H.  Hausen  now  lives.  Col.  Whitney  came  here  in  1835,  and 
there  were  no  houses,  but  in  1836  he  found  Mr.  Noe's  cabin,  and  those  of 
James  Holly  and  his  father-in-law,  Charles  Harrison.  The  Noe  family, 
eight  in  number,  came  from  Ohio. 

Mrs.  Sanders  says  she  remembers  hearing  her  mother,  Mrs.  Edward 
Morgan,  tell  of  his  kindness  to  her  family  in  pioneer  days  and  that  he 
was  an  excellent  man.  They  moved  to  Willow  Creek,  near  Twin  Groves, 
in  1846. 

Lorenzo  Whiting  taught  school  about  1840  near  Tolman's  timber,  a 
short  distance  from  the  present  site  of  Franklin  Grove.  He  moved  to 
Bradford,  near  an  old  friend,  Thomas  Doe,  and  from  here  was  elected  to 
the  State  Legislature,  and  long  known  as  the  "farmer  senator." 

Miss  Sarah  Edmonds,  afterward  Mrs.  James  Nettleton  of  Franklin 
Grove,  was  also  an  early  teacher  in  China  township.  She  taught  at  the 
school  house  east  of  Amos  Hussey's  homestead,  and  boarded  there.  Je- 
rome Hussey  was  one  of  the  primary  scholars,  and  Sam  Conner  another— 
but  Sam  used  to  go  to  sleep  over  his  lessons,  while  Jerome  never  did.  She 
was  a  faithful  worker  in  the  W.  C.  T.  U.,  Band  of  Hope,  and  Junior 
League,  in  which  the  writer  bad  the  privilege  of  assisting  her.  Her 
presence  was  like  a  ray  of  sunlight,  cheering,  invigorating,  helpful  and 
restful.  Marion  Edmonds  Roe,  speaking  of  her,  says:  "In  many  a  hum- 
ble home  she  seemed  God's  angel  to  the  sad  and  poor,  and  those  whose 
need  was  greatest  found  the  kindest  welcome  at  her  door."  She  died  in 
1891. 

—  207  — 


William  Clark  Robinson  came  to  Franklin  in  1843  and  bought  the 
farm  now  owned  by  his  son  George.  Henry  S.  Buckman  and  his  brother, 
Ira  Robinson,  lived  with  him  two  or  three  years,  then  they  divided  the 
property. 

In  1844  he  married  Harriet  Hausen,  then  a  successful  teacher.  He 
had  a  drug  store  in  town  for  a  number  of  years,  but  retired  to  his/son's 
farm  in  his  later  years  and  died  in  1891,  aged  74  years. 

In  1835  Lockwood  Miner  came  from  -New  York,  the  third  of  the  first 
three  men  at  Franklin  Grove  —  Col.  Nathan  Whitney  the  first,  Cyrus 
Chamberlain  second. 

In  1836  his  father,  Cyrus  R.  Miner  came. 

Lockwood  located  on  a  claim  of  eighty  acres,  now  known  as  the  Joe 
Lahman  farm,  but  owned  by  David  and  John  Inagy.  Until  his  father 
came  with  the  rest  of  the  family  in  December  he  stopped  with  the  Mor- 
gan family  in  their  double  log  cabin  north  of  the  Grove.  This  cabin  is 
still  standing,  and  in  a  good  state  of  preservation,  on  Ezra  Withey's  land, 
opposite  Conrad  Durkes'  house. 

Edward  Stoddard,  who  married  Willa  Morgan,  moved  it  there,  and 
"It  is  just  as  it  was  when  I  ate  dinner  in  it  in  1840"  says  an  old  settler. 

In  January,  1837,  the  Miners  moved  to  a  small  cabin,  without  doors 
or  windows,  built  on  the  present  site  of  the  "Gabriel  Miller"  home,  and 
owned  by  James  Nettleton. 

He  afterwards  built  the  western  part  of  the  old  "Bishop  Hughes'  Ho- 
tel," but  now  owned  and  named  by  Isaac  Downing  the  "Downing  House." 
One  of  the  settlers  says-  "He  was  Christian,  honest,  strict,  set  in  his 
ways,  and  tenacious  of  his  creed  and  politics."  He  was  a  class  leader  in 
1840  when  the  Rev.  Jas.  McKean  was  a  missionary  in  the  Rock  River 
District  and  the  class  met  at  his  house.  He  was  born  in  1782,  in  Massa- 
chusetts, was  married  three  times — Timothy  Lockwood  was  the  only  is- 
sue of  the  first  marriage;  and  Sarah,  the  good  wife  of  Otis  Timothy,  Albert, 
Daniel  and  David  of  the  second;  and  Elsie  of  the  third.  Daniel  died  in  1852 
on  his  way  to  California,  Lockwood  in  Missouri  1870.  Mr.  Miner  closed 
a  long  and  useful  life  in  1846. 

"Father  Withey"  is  an  old  settler  and  with  his  aged  wife  has  lived  in 
China  township  nearly  forty-seven  years.  He  came  here  in  1847,  and  in 
1850  bought  one  of  the  first,  if  not  the  first  threshing  machine  in  the 
country.  He  threshed  for  the  settlers  all  about,  taking  one-tenth  of  the 
grain  in  payment,  which  he  hauled  to  market  and  sometimes  sold  for 
twenty-five  cents  a  bushel,  but  with  care  and  good  management  he  has 
secured  a  pleasant  ahd  comfortable  home. 

—  208  — 


In  1843  Christian  Lahman,  with  his  family  and  his  father-in-law,  Mr. 
Emmett,  came  from  Pennsylvania  and  located  north  of  Franklin  Grove, 
on  the  land  now  occupied  by  his  son  David.  Mr.  Lahman  and  Mr.  Em- 
mett were  both  Dunkard  preachers,  and  as  others  of  their  faith  took  de- 
grees there  were  in  time  twelve  preachers  who,  at  different  times,  led 
their  simple  earnest  services  Mr.  Lahman  and  his  wife  have  reared  a 
large  family  of  children,  of  whom  several  are  settled  near  the  Grove. 
Joseph,  a  minister  in  his  father's  church,  lived  a  little  west  of  town — of 
David  we  have  spoken  already.  Maggie,  now  Mrs.  Alex  Miller,  has  gone 
west;  Joshua  lives  south  of  our  town;  John  is  president  of  the  Franklin 
Grove  Bank  and  lives  in  town;  William  lives  in  Chicago.  The  family  is 
of  German  descent  and  have  shown  their  native  perseverence  and  energy 
as  well  as  integrity  and  upright  character,  and  as  a  consequence  are  all 
well  off,  not  only  in  this  world's  goods,  but  in  the  esteem  of  their  fellow 
citizens. 

In  the  fall  of  1838  Philip  Stahl  came  from  Maine,  with  W.  H.  and 
Harrison  Hausen.  They  stopped  at  Cold  Water,  Michigan,  to  work  for 
a  time.  Here  they  met  a  family  named  Bridgeman,  with  a  son-in-law, 
Wm.  Church,  wife  and  child.  They  hired  these  men  to  take  their  chests 
of  clothing  on  their  wagons,  paying  them  enough  for  their  board  and 
passage  to  aid  them  materially  in  keeping  up  supplies. 

Mrs.  Bridgeman  was  a  brave,  sensible  woman,  who  made  the  best  of 
their  difficulties  and  was  always  cheerful,  but  her  daughter,  Mrs.  Church, 
was  much  more  timid  and  despondent. 

They  bought  supplies  at  the  towns  on  the  way,  cooked  by  a  camp  flre, 
and  came  on  as  fast  as  they  could.  When  they  reached  the  Inlet  the 
party  separated,  the  three  men  going  to  Franklin  to  keep  bachelor's  hall 
in  the  "Noe  house"  till  spring,  the  rest  going  to  Palestine  Grove.  They 
worked  in  the  timber  all  winter,  carrying  their  frozen  buckwheat  cakes 
for  lunch,  but  they  were  hale  and  hearty  and  it  did  not  affect  their 
strength  or  appetite. 

A  family  by  the  name  of  Cooper  lived  for  several  years  on  land  now 
included  in  the  farm  of  Samuel  Lahman.  Harry  Cooper  and  his  wife 
were  well  educated  and  great  readers;  he  is  said  to  have  been  sharp  in 
business  and  she  very  ladylike.  Their  daughter  Reform  married  Harry 
Godger,  who  taught  school  here  about  1840. 

"Old  Harry,"  as  the  father-in-law  was  called,  rather  objected  to  the 
match.  Taking  an  immense  pewter  plate  in  his  hand,  he  astonished  the 
wedding  guests  by  saying,  "Here,  Reform!"  "Why  father,  what  shall  I 
do  with  it?"  said  the  bride.  "Melt  it  up,  and  run  it  into  Harry's  head  for 

—  209  — 


brains!"  was  the  brusque  reply. 

Louisa,  another  daughter,  taught  school  at  Whipple's  Cave  about  1839, 
and  is  supposed  to  have  been  one  of  the  first  teachers  here.  She  married 
Mr.  Warnsley  and  lived  near  Troy  Grove.  The  family  went  to  LaSalle  in 
1843. 

When  I  asked  Mrs.  Sanders  about  her  family  she  showed  me  the  old 
"Family  Record"  in  her  "Testament  and  Psalms"  and  said  "These  were 
the  first  children  at  the  Grove."  Her  father,  Edward  Morgan,  built  a 
rude  shanty  near  Marcus  Wingert's  present  home,  and  good  Mrs.  Roe, 
seeing  the  smoke  from  the  chimney  as  she  stood  in  her  own  cabin  door 
miles  away,  exclaimed  "Praise  the  Lord!  We  have  neighbors."  They 
came  from  Ohio,  their  little  daughter  Willa  riding  most  of  the  way  on 
horseback  beside  the  wagon.  There  were  three  other  children  besides 
Baby  Rachel — now  Mrs.  Sanders.  As  they  came  in  May,  1836,  they  were 
probably  the  first  family  at  the  Grove,  after  Cummins  Noe's.  His  children 
were  born  before  he  came  west,  so  Mrs.  Sanders  thinks  her  brother,  John 
Wesley  Morgan,  born  in  1837,  was  the  first  one  at  the  Grove.  He  mar- 
ried Caroline  Bremrner  in  1863,  and  lives  in  the  west. 

School  was  kept  alternate  weeks  at  Mr.  Morgan's  double  log  cabin, 
and  at  Whipple's  Cave.  "Two  days'  meetings"  were  also  held  here,  for 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  Morgan  were  Christian  pioneers. 

A  man  who  worked  for  them  says  that  when  the  mother  would  swing 
the  kettle  of  mush  from  the  fireplace  for  their  supper,  the  children 
scrambling  about  her,  tired  with  play  and  eager  with  hunger,  never 
failed  to  hush  iheir  voices  and  bow  their  heads  while  the  father  offered 
thanks  for  the  simple  meal.  Mr.  Morgan  died  in  1847,  his  wife  in  1863. 

"Squire"  Jeremiah  Whipple  located  near  the  "Cave"  which  bears  his 
name  in  1837  with  his  family  of  wife  and  four  children. 

He  had  been  out  the  year  before,  and  agreed  with  Jesse  Holly,  to 
bring  out  machinery  for  a  saw  mill,  which  they  were  to  run  in  partner- 
ship. The  sites  of  the  house,  the  saw  mill,  and  the  dam  are  still  to  be 
seen,  though  the  buildings  are  gone. 

For  many  years  Joseph  Whipple  lived  with  them. 

Almost  all  the  boards  used  in  the  houses  of  the  vicinity  were  sawn  at 
that  mill  and  paid  for  often  in  labor  and  commodities. 

Joseph  was  an  old  line  Whig,  and  Jerry  a  strong  Democrat,  both  well 
read  in  politics,  so  they  made  the  double  log  cabin  ring  with  party  argu- 
ments. 

Most  of  the  lawsuits  of  the  day  were  tried  by  Squire  Whipple,  who 
had  been  a  Justice  of  the  Peace  in  New  York  and  was  an  able  man. 

—  210  — 


Here,  too,  people  of  all  religious  names  gathered  on  Sundays  for 
"meetings,"  singing  as  heartily,  praying  as  fervently,  and  worshipping  as 
devoutly,  as  in  a  more  pretentious  building. 

The  Whipple,  Cooper  and  Hausen  families  leaned  to  Universalism; 
the  Morgan,  Minor  and  Chamberlain  families  were  Methodist;  the  Tol- 
man,  Hussey,  Holly,  Ayerhart,  Rowland,  Chilson,  O'Connor,  Brenen,  Mc- 
Farland,  Yale,  Johns,  Whitney  and  Nichols  families  were  of  various  de- 
nominations, but  here  they  all  united  as  one. 

The  meeting  over,  little  knots  of  friends  shook  hands,  chatted  over 
the  news,  and  then  drove  away  with  their  ox  teams. 

Emily  Whipple  married  a  Mr.  Tompkins,  and  Isabelle,  Decatur  Far- 
rows; both  went  to  Iowa,  thence  to  Pike's  Peak. 

Cyrus  Chamberlain  has  been  so  fully  mentioned  in  another  paper  that 
I  will  not  add  more  than  to  say,  in  the  words  of  an  old  settler,  that  he 
"was  an  intelligent,  large-hearted  man." 

A  kind  old  gentleman  whose  modesty  prevents  my  giving  his  name 
told  me  the  following  story: 

"Perhaps  you  would  like  to  hear  about  the  first  doctor  at  Franklin 
Grove,  and  as  he  was  a  cousin  of  mine  I  can  tell  you  about  him.  It  was 
in  1844  or  '45  that  Rufus  B.  Clarke  came  to  Wisconsin  with  his  wife  and 
daughter.  He  was  an  excellent  mechanic,  so  made  a  good  living  and  all 
went  well  until  he  lost  his  wife.  Soon  after,  hearing  that  a  family 
named  Nichols  whom  he  knew  lived  at  Dover,  this  state,  he  drove  to 
that  place  with  his  daughter,  and  here  he  was  married  a  second  time. 
The  lady  whom  he  married  was  in  the  last  stages  of  consumption,  and 
the  doctor  told  Clarke  it  was  of  no  use  for  him  to  attend  her,  as  he, 
Clarke,  could  prepare  and  administer  the  quieting  remedies  which  were 
all  she  could  use.  So  he  loaned  Clarke  several  medical  books,  which  he 
studied  diligently.  His  wife  soon  died,  and  he  decided  to  attempt  mar- 
ble work,  at  least  long  enough  to  get  stones  for  the  graves  of  his  wives. 
Having  secured  them,  he  prepared  to  make  the  journey  to  Wisconsin 
where  the  first  wife  lay.  A  young  fellow  named  Olivard  was  to  go  with 
him,  and  as  his  means  were  limited  he  hit  upon  a  plan  for  defraying  ex- 
penses of  which  the  reader  may  judge  for  himself.  'Olivard,'  said  he, 
'times  will  be  hard  between  here  and  there,  and  I  have  hit  upon  a  scheme. 
You  just  act  as  my  waiter,  take  care  of  the  horse  and  call  me  'doctor' and 
I  guarantee  we'll  come  out  all  right.' 

"So  putting  in  his  books  and  case  of  medicine  they  started,  reaching 
Franklin  Grove  (called  at  that  time  both  'Fremont'  and  'Chaplain')  the 
first  night.  They  put  up  at  the  Miner  House,  now  standing  south  of  the 

—  211  - 


Downing  House,  then  used  as  a  tavern.  Olivard,  true  to  his  part,  called 
Clarke  'Doctor,'  and  the  landlord  caught  at  the  word.  'Are  you  a  doctor' 
sir?"  he  asked  anxiously.  When  told  that  he  was  he  went  on  to  say  'My 
wife  is  sick  in  there,  I  was  just  thinking  I  must  send  to  Dixon  for  a  doc- 
tor, but  this  is  good  luck,  you  have  come  and  you  can  see  her.'  Clarke 
pronounced  the  case  a  mild  one,  prescribed  some  simple  remedy,  and  both 
he  and  the  landlord  were  relieved  the  next  morning  to  find  the  good 
woman  much  better  and  'quite  bright.'  Nothing  would  do  but  the  new 
doctor  must  drive  out  and  prescribe  for  the  sick  in  the  neighborhood, 
and  at  the  landlord's  urgent  entreaty  he  promised  to  consider  the  place 
as  a  possible  location. 

"After  the  stone  was  set  at  his  wife's  grave  and  they  were  ready  to 
return,  Clarke  said  to  his  assistant,  'See  here,  Olivard,  if  I  am  going  into 
this  business  I  must  understand  surgery.  I  know  where  a  young  Indian's 
body  lies,  and  I  am  going  to  get  the  bones  to  study.'  The  bones  were 
secured,  placed  in  a  box,  and  as  they  came  through  Franklin  he  left  them 
there.  Going  on  to  Dover,  he  settled  up  his  affairs  there  and  returned  to 
Franklin,  to  the  great  delight  of  the  landlord.  He  boarded  at  the  tavern 
and  his  barn  stood  on  a  part  of  what  is  now  Charles  Hausen's  lawn. 

"As  Dr.  Clarke's  practice  increased  he  took  Dr.  Yager  into  partner- 
ship. He  married  a  daughter  of  Mr.  Woodruff  of  Bradford  andmoved  to 
Rockford,  thence  to  Racine.  Here  he  connected  himself  with  a  manu- 
facturing establishment.  From  here  he  went  to  Chicago.  He  made  one 
more  removal— to  Iowa,  where  he  was  elected  State  Senator,  and  held  the 
office  at  the  time  of  his  death.  1  must  add  that  the  bones  of  the  Indian 
were  forgotten,  and  he  sent  to  his  cousin  for  them,  while  in  Rockford. 
His  cousin  opened  the  box,  added  a  good  supply  of  beef  and  pork  bones 
and  sent  them  on.  History  does  not  tell  us  whether  the  science  of  sur- 
gery was  greatly  aided  thereby  or  not." 

The  "Old  Chicago  Road"  has  been  mentioned  by  several  writers  and 
is  a  familiar  name  to  every  old  settler,  as  the  stage  and  mail  route  from 
the  Lake  Shore  to  Galena. 

Starting  from  "the  river"  as  everyone  called  Chicago  in  an  early  day, 
the  ox  teams  went  on  to  Berry's  Point,  nine  miles;  to  Brush  Hill,  twenty; 
to  Naperville  thirty:  to  Aurora,  crossing  Fox  River  forty  miles  out.  At 
Sugar  Grove  Cyrus  Ingham's'  sign  "entertainment"  hung  out.  Then  Big 
Rock  ten  miles;  Little  Rock  four  miles  farther  and  Somananc  six.  From 
here  to  Indian  Creek  or  Ross'  Grove  ten  miles:  to  East  Paw  Paw  four, 
where  Wirrick's  tavern  stood;  through  Melugin's  Grove  six  miles,  and 
Inlet  six.  Here  was  David  Tripp's  tavern — and  here  the  Franklin  Grove 

—  212  — 


men  left  the  "old  road." 

Squire  Haskell  had  the  postoffice  and  stage  station  at  Inlet,  and  at 
what  was  Cephas  Clapp's  place  in  Lee  Centre  old  Whittaker  hung  out 
his  "sign."  This  was  three  bottles  hung  between  two  poles 

At  Temperance  Hill  good  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Hannum  furnished  a  very 
different  entertainment  in  their  sod  house.  Next  was  Dr.  Gardner's, 
then  six  miles  further  on  was  "Dixon's  Ferry." 

The  trips  over  this  road  were  long  or  short,  as  the  roads  varied;  men 
slept  under  their  wagons,  and  carried  food  and  fodder  from  home,  as  they 
went  over  it  to  sell  grain  and  get  the  few  luxuries  they  could  afford. 
Often  teams  had  to  be  "doubled  up"  to  pull  through  a  bad  "slough." 
Wagons  must  be  pried  out  with  fence  rails,  and  sometimes  the  rails 
were  laid  in  a  corduroy  road,  over  the  worst  places.  Sometimes  the 
wagons  were  driven  into  a  stream,  end  boards  taken  out,  arid  a  bridge 
made  over  which  the  grain  was  carried.  Men  made  little  but  they  spent 
less,  on  these  trips.  An  illustration  of  this  is  given  by  Charles  Hausen 
who  made  his  first  trip  with  Otis  Timothy,  spending  one  shilling  only, 
for  a  dinner  on  what  is  now  South  Water  Street,  Chicago.  As  old  Mod- 
est Gehant  used  to  say  "They  conld  stand  up  under  a  good  deal 
then." 

George  Yale  had  a  board  shanty  near  the  farm  of  Kincaid  Runyan  and 
George  O'Connor  worked  for  him.  One  winter's  night  in  a  snow-storm, 
they  heard  a  cry  for  help,  just  as  they  had  settled  for  the  night,  and 
found  a  family  which  had  strayed  from  the  "old  road"  and  were  almost 
perishing  with  cold,  at  their  door.  They  were  taken  in,  a  new  supper 
cooked,  and  everything  done  to  make  them  comfortable  for  the  night. 
Just  as  they  were  ready  for  the  night  a  second  time  a  second  call  was 
heard,  and  another  party,  lost  in  the  same  way  begged  a  shelter.  So 
covers  were  stretched,  teams  crowded  closer,  children  put  to  sleep  on 
boxes  and  trunks,  and  the  fire  piled  with  fresh  logs.  Another  supper 
was  made  ready,  and  as  hearty  a  welcome  given  as  if  they  had  been  the 
first.  The  one  small  room  was  so  crowded  that  the  elders  could  not 
sleep,  so  George  took  his  violin  and  played  the  rest  of  the  night,  while 
those  who  could  get  room  enough  danced,  "till  broad  daylight." 

On  one  of  his  trips  Charles  Hausen  sold  his  wheat  so  well  that  on  his 
return  he  traded  one  yoke  of  his  oxen  for  a  fine  dark  bay  horse  which  he 
called  "Bill."  In  Saumanauc  he  traded  the  other  yoke. for  a  chestnut 
called  "Old  Baldie."  Leaving  his  wagon  and  yokes  he  rode  the  forty 
miles  bareback  to  Dixon,  where  he  bought  a  harness  of  James  and  Hor- 
ace Benjamin,  and  went  back  for  his  wagon.  When  he  reached  the 

—  213  — 


Grove,  his  team  created  quite  a  sensation;  James  Holly  and  Charles  Har- 
rison calling  out  "Why  there's  Old  Barney!"  It  proved  that  they  had 
known  the  horse  in  Ohio,  where  Holly  had  owned  him,  and  often  driven 
him  to  Harrison's  when  he  was  "courting."  Among  other  stories  they 
told  how  he  had  once  pitched  Holly  out  at  the  gate,  and  jumped  the 
fence,  drawing  the  sleigh  after  him.  When  Holly  got  up  he  was  aston- 
ished to  see  Barney  quietly  standing  in  the  yard,  apparently  waiting  for 
the  pretty  girl  to  open  the  door.  At  any  rate  Barney  was  the  only  fel- 
low Holly  ever  allowed  to  court  his  girl,  and  the  old  horse  worked  long 
and  faithfully.  Although  not  an  old  settler  in  every  sense,  he  was  a  pio- 
neer of  1835. 

Adam  Vroman  bought  out  Holly  and  Harrison  and  they  went  to 
Iowa. 

"Little  Mike"  Brewen  and  O'Connor  lived  with  Mchael  McFarland, 
near  Sproul's  farm,  three  jolly  old  bachelors  from  Ireland.  McFarland 
used  to  ask  "Now  what's  the  news?  No  News?  Faith  then,  if  there's 
no  news  it's  good  news,  for  there's  no  bad  news." 

One  old  settler  remembers  that  on  these  trips  they  sometimes  had  to 
eat  a  frozen  lunch,  and  that  Streator  used  to  soak  his  in  whiskey,  and 
brandish  it  above  his  head,  as  he  drove  along.  Another  story  is  of  a  man 
who  sold  his  load  for  twelve  dollars,  and  felt  so  rich  that  he  got  a  pair 
of  boots.  He  had  no  box  on  his  wagon,  only  a  rack,  and  as  he  forded  the 
river  near  Geneva,  the  boots  got  loose  and  were  washed  down  stream 
beyond  recovery.  He  says  he  never  shall  forget  his  'feelings  as  he 
watched  them  floating  down  the  stream. 

John  Hartzell  once  lost  his  oxen  on  his  way  out  of  Chicago,  and  sup- 
posed they  were  stolen,  but  unwilling  to  give  up  hope,  he  returned  and 
renewed  his  search.  On  this  second  trip  he  met  a  pleasant  German 
girl,  to  whom  he  proposed  marriage  and  was  accepted.  He  found  his 
oxen  soon  after  and  came  back  doubly  rich, 

"Blast  it!"  says  an  old  settler,  "we  used  to  go  to  Chicago  for  two  shil- 
lings! But  those  days  are  gone  by." 

Hugh  Moore  came  west  from  New  Hampshire  in  1836.  In  1837  we 
hear  of  him  as  one  of  a  company  formed  to  protect  actual  settlers  in 
their  claims.  His  brother  Rufus  carne  with  him,  James  in  1835 — all 
three  are  dead.  Hugh  was  greatly  respected  in  Lee  county;  was  a  public- 
spirited  man  who  did  much  for  the  good  of  the  people  in  an  early  day 
His  claim  was  made  near  Grand  Detour;  his  son  James  lived  just  west  of 
Dixon  for  years.  It  is  related  of  one  of  their  ancestors  that  on  his  voy- 
age to  this  country  from  Scotland,  in  1710,  food  became  so  scarce  that 

—  214  — 


at  last  the  company  cast  lots  to  decide  which  one  should  be  sacrificed  to 
save  the  rest.  The  lot  fell  on  this  ancestor.  During  the  night  as  he 
prayed  to  be  prepared  to  die  a  son  was  added  to  his  family  and  the  re- 
mainder of  the  company  decided  not  to  take  the  life  of  a  man  who  would 
leave  a  wife  and  eight  helpless  children  in  a  new  country.  They  came 
to  land  before  it  was  necessary  to  choose  a  substitute.  The  child  born 
that  night  grew  up  and  reared  a  large  family,  some  of  whom  became 
prominent  citizens  and  took  good  rank  at  Yale  and  Harvard. 

My  grandfather  has  often  told  me  the  story  of  how  her  children  took 
care  of  her,  as  they  thought,  when  grandfather  went  on  his  long  trips  to 
Chicago  or  Peru  with  grain.  She  was  five  miles  from  neighbors,  and 
fearful  of  Indians,  of  wolves,  of  claim  jumpers,  and  much  else  that  was 
more  indefinite.  Once  when  she  had  kept  the  children  awake  as  long  as 
possible,  for  company,  after  they  had  one  by  one  dropped  off  to  sleep,  she 
was  terribly  frightened  by  a  sudden  rush  and  crash  at  the  half-sash  win- 
dow of  the  cabin.  She  sat,  too  frightened  to  move,  for  a  time,  but  at 
last  gathered  courage  to  hang  a  blanket  before  the  opening.  Then  she 
waited  in  fear  and  trembling  till  morning — only  to  see  the  window  sash 
hung  round  the  neck  of  her  good  old  cow. 

But  the  children  all  felt  sure  that  they  had  saved  mother  from  wild 
beasts  and  Indians,  and  assured  their  father  that  each  had  done  his  part 
when  he  came  home.  And  so  they  had,  dear  children!  Had  they  not 
watched  and  prayed  and  then  trusted  the  Good  Father,  Who  did  care  for 
her?  MINNIE  A.  HAUSEN. 

o 


Veteran  of  tBs 


The  Rev.  Barton  Cartwright,  being  asked  for  a  paragraph,  sends  us 
the  following,  in  the  trembling  hand  of  a  veteran  of  eighty-three  years: 

"I  was  born  in  Auburn,  New  York,  in  1810.  I  came  to  Illinois  in 
1833,  and  met  Black  Hawk  on  his  way  to  Washington  prison. 

"The  first  Sunday  in  May,  that  year,  I  held  my  first  meeting  in  Illi- 
nois, in  Warren  county.  I  formed  the  first  class  in  April.  But  you  want 
something  of  your  own  field.  Rev.  James  McKean  was  our  first  preacher 
in  that  part  of  the  country.  He  preached  all  through  what  are  now  Ogle, 
Lee  and  Whiteside  counties. 

"I  was  sent  on  the  circuit  in  1837.    I  went  from  north  of  Byron  to 

—  215  — 


Fulton,  then  to  Dixon,  where  I  preached  in  a  school  house,  at'  Franklin 
in  Edward  Morgan's  cabin,  at  Sterling  in  Brother  Bush's  house,  at  Mt. 
Morris  in  a  small  school  house,  preaching  every  day  but  Saturday. 

"Once  I  rapped  at  a  cabin  door  just  as  the  mother  was  regretting 
their  coming  so  far  from  religious  privileges,  and  the  father  cheerfully 
answering  'the  preachers  will  be  here  soon.' 

"In  the  winter  of  1836-7  I  went  to  New  York  in  a  "jumper,"  through 
Canada,  Eochester  and  Syracuse. 

"On  the  circuit  I  generally  went  on  horseback,  and  often  swam  the 
Rock  or  the  Mississippi  by  the  side  of  a  skiff,  to  reach  my  appointments- 
April  9,  1839,  I  went  to  conclude  a  very  pleasant  engagement  with  Miss 
Benedict,  in  the  presence  of  Eev.  Thomas  Hitt,  at  the  home  of  her  step- 
father, James  Clark. 

"As  I  came  through  Warren  county  a  man  joined  me,  and  rode  by  my 
side  as  far  as  Dixon.  When  I  reached  Mr.  Clark's  Col.  Sealey  and  a 
constable  from  Portland  were  just  behind,  and  I  might  have  been  arrested 
for  being  in  the  company  of  a  counterfeiter,  if  I  had  not  been  well  known. 
As  the  man  had  been  seen  with  me,  they  thought  he  might  still  be  near. 
They  caught  him  at  Inlet,  and  I  was  able  to  take  my  part  in  the  wedding 
ceremony  without  interruption. 

"Once  when  I  arrived  at  a  house  quite  late,  the  owner  gave  me  a  bed 
on  the  floor,  and  grudgingly  told  me  he  'had  an  uncle  who  was  eaten  out 
of  house  and  home  by  Methodist  preachers.'  'Ah,'  said  I,  'they  must 
have  had  sharp  teeth.  What  is  my  bill?'  'One  dollar.' 

"Strange  to  say,  I  had  the  money  and  paid  it,  though  it  was  a  very 
rare  thing  to  find  anyone  willing  to  take  pay  from  a  preacher.  Two  years 
after  the  man  wanted  some  office  and  that  dollar  seemed  to  be  in  his  way. 
He  wanted  to  return  it  to  me,  but  I  told  him  to  '  send  it  to  his  poor 
uncle.'  " 


Si  fas  P.   Tofrr?a.T2. 


Silas  P.  Tolman,  in  the  fall  of  1837,  left  New  York  state  with  his 
family  enroute  for  the  undeveloped  west. 

After  a  journey  of  about  eight  weeks  with  three  horse-teams,  one  to 
convey  the  family,  the  other  two  the  household  goods,  he  arrived  at  a 
point  in  Illinois  now  known  as  Inlet  Grove. 

~  216  — 


Probably  the  distance  traveled,  which  at  that  time  required  eight 
weeks,  could  with  present  facilities  be  covered  in  about  twenty-four 
hours. 

The  family  remained  at  this  point  (Inlet  Grove)  during  the  winter, 
but  early  in  the  spring  of  '38  resumed  their  journey  and  pitched  their 
tent  upon  the  present  site  of  the  village  of  Franklin  Grove.  After  pur- 
chasing a  claim  of  three  hundred  and  twenty  acres  the  subject  of  this 
sketch  proceeded  to  make  a  home  for  himself  and  loved  ones. 

He  first  built  a  log  house  or  cabin  for  temporary  use  but  soon  there- 
after erected  a  more  substantial  dwelling,  the  second  frame  house  built 
in  Franklin  Gro\e.  This  same  house,  with  some  modern  improvements, 
is  at  the  present  time  occupied  by  his  son,  A.  W.  Tolman. 

During  the  war  of  1812  our  subject  served  as  drummer-boy. 

LUCY  B.  TOLMAN-COOK. 


The  old  schooner  "Saunup"  hove  to,  and  a  small  boat  put  off  over  the 
blue  waves  of  the  Narragansett  for  the  city  of  Providence.  In  the  boat 
was  a  boy  charged  with  the  task  of  bringing  his  mother  and  five  younger 
children  from  Maine  to  the  far  off  prairies  of  Illinois.  He  was  a  well- 
built,  energetic  lad — the  short  history  of  his  sixteen  years  is  soon  told. 
His  father,  Charles  Hausen  Sr.,  had  moved  from  the  old  homestead  at 
Bristol,  in  Maine,  with  his  wife  and  older  children — Henry,  Harrison, 
Harriet,  Charles,  Jane  and  Sylvanus — to  "Old  Button,"  later  Glenburn, 
near  Bangor,  where  he  hoped  to  purchase  and  improve  a  large  tract  of 
land  for  his  sons. 

Here  he  built  the  house  (about  1825)  which  is  still  standing. 

Finding  that  his  friends  who  had  emigrated  west  found  ample  farms 
unencumbered  by  stone,  tree  or  hill,  Mr.  Hausen  decided  to  come  also. 
Several  neighbors  having  located  near  Dixon's  Ferry,  the  two  older  sons, 
Henry  and  Harrison,  started  in  1838  with  Philip  Stahl  to  secure  land. 
They  were  twenty-two  and  twenty  respectively,  and  made  the  long  trip 
with  that  brave  spirit,  which  characterized  the  early  pioneers. 

Having  sold  the  farm,  two  years  later,  the  summer  of  1840,  the  father 
came  to  prepare  a  home,  leaving  the  boy  Charles  to  bring  the  family  of 
younger  children  later. 

—  217  — 


In  September  they  started,  the  mother  grieving  to  leave  the  ancient 
landmarks  of  her  life,  the  grave  of  her  little  daughter,  and  the  friends  of 
youth  and  womanhood.  From  the  Penobscot  they  shipped  in  the 
schooner  "Sanup,"and  anchoring  in  Narragansett  Bay  for  supplies  from 
Providence,  we  find  the  pioneer  boy  accompanying  the  sailors  to  land. 
The  voyage  had  been  pleasant  after  the  seasickness  had  worn  off.  The 
remembrance  of  good  Capt.  Parker's  stories,  the  songs  of  the  sailors  and 
their  shouts  in  the  rigging,  the  kindness  of  the  burly  negro  cook,  who 
made  special  bowls  of  soup  for  the  seasick  lad,  filled  his  heart  to  over- 
flowing. Never  in  the  long  years  after  did  he  find,  it  seemed  to  him, 
such  sincere  friends  as  those  on  this  trip  from  the  old  home  to  the  new. 

At  New  York  City  they  took  a  steamboat  to  Albany.  From  Albany 
to  Buffalo  the  voyage  was  made  in  the  tedious  canalboat,  their  experience 
in  being  bumped  out  of  bunk  at  night  being  anything  but  pleasant. 

The  old  lake  boat  "Gen.  Wayne"  brought  them  to  Toledo.  At  Toledo 
they  landed,  taking  the  little  corduroy  railroad  thirty  miles  to  Adrian, 
Michigan,  a  stage  ride  of  seven  miles  further  bringing  them  "to  the 
woods"  where  the  Sears  family  lived,  who  had  been  near  neighbors  for 
years  in  Glenburn.  Here  they  rented  a  house  of  a  man  named  Batchelor 
and  unpacking  what  goods  were  needed,  the  mother  and  little  folks  re- 
cuperated from  the  long  journey. 

The  day  before  they  arrived  a  son  of  Mr.  Batchelor  had  died  and 
shortly  after  they  moved  in  his  "house  he  came  over  and  gave  the  boy 
Charles  work  at  "girdling.,'  Taking  him  to  the  very  tree  where  his  son 
had  last  worked  he  told  him  of  his  own  boy.  The  "girdlings"  were  trees 
"girdled"  to  kill  them,  and  at  these  tough  old  forest  monarchs  he  spent 
the  next  six  weeks,  getting  fifty  cents  a  day.  This  small  sum  meant 
much  to  the  family  moving  so  far  into  a  new  settlement.  His  hands 
blistered  and  swelled,  but  what  of  that,  had  not  his  father  trusted  him 
to  bring  out  the  mother  and  children?  He  must  take  a  man's  part  in 
life. 

After  a  time  Mr.  Peufield,  of  Inlet,  Lee  county,  Illinois,  arrived,  sent 
by  the  father  at  Franklin  Grove  for  them.  Part  of  the  goods  were  packed 
in  the  tightest  possible  manner,  the  rest  sold,  and  the  family  took  up  the 
journey  again. 

It  was  fall  and  quite  cold,  but  the  greatest  difficulty  was  that  but  one 
wagon  had  come.  In  this  Mrs.  Hausen,  her  little  girls  Faustina  and 
Kate,  aged  twelve  and  ten  years,  and  her  little  boy  Norman,  of  eight, 
rode;  Sylvanus  walking  part  and  Charles  all  the  way  from  Adrian  to  the 
Franklin  Creek. 

—  218  — 


It  was  December  and  the  early  snows  fell  thickly;  the  wolves  howled 
afar  off  around  the  taverns;  the  way  was  long  and  weary, but  their  faces 
were  steadfastly  toward  the  new  west. 

'These  gardens  of  the  desert, 
The  unshorn  fields,  boundless  and  beautiful. 
For  which  the  speech  of  England  has  no  name— 

The  prairies." 

Arriving  at  Inlet  Mr.  Penfleld  put  up  at  his  own  home  for  the  night, 
the  family  going  on  to  their  friend's— Russel  Lynn's.  But  for  our  boy? 
He  had  come  nearly  forty  miles  that  day,  but  only  seven  miles  off  were 
father,  brother,  home!  He  and  Sylvanus  pushed  forward,  leaving  mother 
and  sisters  to  rest.  It  was  dark  when  they  reached  the  frame  house  of 
Col.  Nathan  Whitney,  now  the  vinegar  house  at  A.  R.  Whitney's  nurs- 
ery, and  the  kind  old  man  arose  from  the  supper  table  to  direct  thefn. 
Going  part  way  down  the  hill  he  pointed  to  the  light  in  the  window  of 
Yales' house,  saying  "Follow  the  light,  boys,  and  you  will  get  there  all 
right." 

On  reaching  Yale's  cabin,  which  stood  near  where  Ferris  Ramsdell's 
orchard  is,  they  crossed  the  creek  and  came  to  the  "Noe  house"  vacated 
the  winter  before  by  Amos  Hussey  and  occupied  by  the  father  and  sons 
while  looking  over  the  land  and  deciding  on  a  location.  This  house  stood 
about  a  mile  and  a  quarter  west  of  the  present  site  of  the  railroad  depot 
in  the  village  and  a  quarter  of  a  mile  north  of  W.  H.  Hausen's  present 
residence  on  his  "Grove  Stock  Farm." 

Tired,  but  satisfied,  they  lay  down  to  rest  too  weary  to  talk.  The 
boy's  task  was  accomplished  when  the  team  brought  the  family  and 
goods  the  next  morning.  The  house  was  made  of  logs  with  puncheon 
floor,  door  and  furniture.  A  fireplace  answered  for  stove,  a  cross-leg 
puncheon  bench  for  table,  puncheon  benches  three  feet  long  for  chairs, 
bunks  against  the  walls  for  beds.  Pegs  along  the  wall  were  the  only 
staircase  to  the  loft  overhead,  but  the  beds  the  mother  brought  were 
warm.  Young  blood  flowed  swiftly  and  life  was  all  before  them. 

On  Monday  morning  the  pioneer  boy  began  work  for  Col.  Whitney, 
doing  his  first  day's  work  in  Illinois  in  the  barn  still  standing  opposite  the 
vinegar  house.  He  helped  set  out  the  orchard  and  shade  trees  in  the 
northern  part  of  the  nursery.  The  good  colonel's  wife  said  no  one  cut  her 
such  neat,  measured  sticks  of  wood  as  Charles  did.  Her  quiet  manners, 
little  kindnesses  and  gentle  praise  won  his  boyish  heart,  and  placed  her 
high  in  his  lifelong  esteem. 

The  two  talked  together  as  they  worked— the  man  with  the  rich  ex- 

—  219  — 


perience  in  army  and  civil  life,  and  the  boy  with  his  first,  fresh  impres- 
sions and  ardent  hopefulness — and  as  they  planted  the  trees  thoughts 
and  principles  springing  from  the  sage  councils  took  root  in  the  boy's 
heart,  to  bring  fruitage  in  manhood. 

The  father  of  the  family  purchased  the  land  now  owned  by  S.  C.  Hau- 
sen  and  built  a  commodious  frame  house  two  or  three  years  later.  The 
boards  for  it  were  sawn  in  Whipple's  mill  near  where  "Whipple's  Cave" 
is  and  were  of  oak  and  walnut,  the  shingles  being  as  long  as  barrel  staves. 

W.  H.  Hausen,  the  oldest  son,  took  the  land  lying  east  and  has  passed 
his  life  there.  Besides  improving  and  importing  his  herd  of  stock  he 
cultivated  his  fruit  trees  until  in  September,  1872,  he  was  able  to  ship 
ninety-seven  varieties  of  apples  and  fifteen  varieties  of  pears  to  the  Iowa 
State  Fair. 

Harrison  took  the  land  lying  west  of  his  father's  and  resides  still  at 
the  same  place,  and  as  fast  as  the  other  sons  became  of  age  they  pur- 
chased land  lying  near,  until  nearly  all  that  lying  west  of  the  village  of 
Franklin  Grove  for  three  miles^and  including  large  portions  of  adjoining 
timber  has  become  their  property. 

Life  was  hard  in  those  days,  but  it  meant  much.  Privations  were 
patiently  borne,  schools  were  poor  and  the  term  short.  The  nearest  doc- 
tor was  that  good  old  man,  Dr.  Gardner.  For  preaching  they  were 
dependent  on  the  itinerants  whft  with  Bible  and  saddle-bags  made  infre- 
quent but  welcome  visits. 

Yet  life  had  its  joys  as  the  years  came  and  went — spelling  schools, 
singing  schools,  "bees,"  parties  and  sleigh  rides  in  "bob-sleds." 

Every  new  pioneer  was  welcome  to  the  best  any  house  or  cabin  con- 
tained, and  among  those  surroundings  the  pioneer  boy  of  Maine  grew  up 

into  sturdy,  vigorous  manhood. 

MINNIE  A.  HAUSEN. 


E.  G.  T"B©r?2a,s. 

E.  C.  Thomas,  of  Franklin  Grove,  Illinois,  was  born  at  Batavia,  New 
York,  November  9,  1813.  His  mother  was  Rebecca  Campbell,  of  Scotch 
descent.  His  father,  Silas  Thomas,  was  of  Puritan  stock.  When  yet  a 
babe,  he  moved  with  his  parents  to  East  and  West  Bloomfield,  New  York. 
In  1823  he  moved  to  Porter,  Niagara  county,  New  York,  and  in  1835  mar- 

—  220  — 


ried  Mary  Ann  Nichols,  of  Wilson,  Niagara  county,  New  York. 

In  1836,  with  his  wife,  he  started  for  Michigan  going  via  canal  from 
Lockport  to  Buffalo,  and  steamer  to  Detroit,  settling  in  Oakland  county, 
Michigan.  They  remained  here  three  years,  Mr.  Thomas  working  for 
$13.00  a  month.  During  this  time  they  were  visited  by  John  Nichols, 
father  of  Mrs.  Thomas,  who  went  to  Illinois  and  reported  so  favorably  of 
the  country,  that  Mr.  Thomas  and  wife  concluded  to  move  there,  and, 
purchasing  a  team  and  wagon  they,  with  their  two  children,  Mary  and 
William  Henry,  started  for  Illinois  in  1839,  On  their  way  they  passed 
through  Chicago  which  was  then  a  small  town  built  in  a  low  marshy 
place  and  they  stopped  in  the  vicinity  of  what  is  now  Franklin  Grove. 
Their  first  night  in  this  vicinity  was  spent  in  Whipple's  cave,  and  the 
next  day  they  moved  into  a  shanty  twelve  feet  square,  built  by  Mr. 
Nichols.  In  building  the  shanty  a  fallen  tree  was  used  as  one  side  of  the 
building.  The  roof  consisted  of  split  hollow  logs.  The  next  spring  they 
moved  into  a  house  built  near  the  old  homestead. 

In  August,  1842,  Mary  Ann  Thomas,  wife  of  E.  C.  Thomas,  died  leav- 
ing a  babe,  Ruby  Thomas,  and  the  two  children  before  mentioned.  Soon 
after  her  death  Mary  Duncan,  sister  of  Mr.  Thomas,  took  the  three  child- 
ren to  McHenry  county,  Illinois,  and  cared  for  them. 

The  sickness  of  Mrs.  Thomas  completely  exhausted  the  resources  of 
Mr.  Thomas,  and  as  a  result  the  sheriff  levied  on  and  sold  his  property 
to  satisfy  the  doctor's  bill. 

In  the  winter  of  1842  Mr.  Thomas  went  to  the  lead  mines  near 
Galena,  Illinois,  where  for  some  time  he  worked  at  fifty  cents  a  day  in 
order  to  get  money  to  make  another  start.  He  brought  back  to  his  for- 
mer home  $30  in  silver  with  which  he  purchased  a  yoke  of  three-year-old 
steers  and  a  sled.  In  October,  1845,  Mr.  Thomas  married  Harriet  A. 
Whitmore  and  again  commenced  Jarming  with  his  oxen  and  sled.  At 
that  time  there  were  only  about  fl  ve  wagons  in  that  part  of  the  state. 

As  a  result  of  this  union  there  were  ten  children,  of  whom  all  are  now 
living  except  Ella  Josephine,  who  died  at  the  age  of  two  and  one-half 
years. 

Mr.  and  Mrs.  Thomas,  among  many  hardships  and  privations,  lived 
and  prospered.  Mr.  Thomas  had  the  misfortune  to  lose  his  beloved  wife 
in  October,  1867.  Thereafter  he  devoted  himself  to  his  children  and  at 
the  age  of  79  years  is  remarkably  active  and  well. 

MARY  C.  THOMAS. 


"MotfW    Bystreet. 


Mrs  Bradstreet,  formerly  Clarissa  Todd,  was  born  in  Litchfleld,  Con- 
necticut, April  27, 1800.  She  was  the  tenth  child  of  Samuel  and  Mary 
(Dudley)  Todd.  Her  father  served  seven  years  in  the  Revolutionary  war, 
returning  uninjured.  She  received  her  early  education  from  her  grand- 
father Dudley,  who  had  been  a  school-master  for  years.  Six  of  her 
brothers  and  sisters  taught  the  pioneer  schools  in  New  York.  Being  very 
energetic  and  faithful  she  cared  for  her  parents  with  marked  tenderness 
and  thrift  until  September  10,  1820,  when  she  was  married  to  Daniel 
Moore  Bradstreet.  In  1831  she  was  converted,  and  united  with  the  M.  E. 
Church  in  the  spring  of  that  year.  The  mother  of  twelve  children,  she 
buried  seven  in  New  York,  and  in  1844  came  to  Illinois  to  rear  her 
remaining  five.  Hers  was  the  rough  lake  voyage  and  long  jaunt  over  the 
prairie  in  a  wagon  from  Chicago  to  Hugh  Moore's  cabin,  near  what  is 
now  Grand  Detour.  Her  husband  entered  a  claim  at  Dixon  and  moved 
his  family  to  "Hoosier  Hill."  In  1864  the  family  moved  to  Franklin 
Grove,  where  her  life  was  pleasantly  passed.  She  died  August  25,  1889. 
Her  funeral  sermon  was  preached  from  her  chosen  text,  II  Timothy  4, 
7,  8,  by  Rev.  E.  D.  Hull  of  Kingston,  assisted  by  Rev.  G.  M.  Bassett,  her 
pastor.  She  rests  in  peace. 

MINNIE  A;  HAUSKN. 


MRS   CLARISSA    BRADSTREET. 


MR.   D.  M.  BRADSTRECT. 


D.  M.  Bystreet. 


Mr.  Bradstreet  was  a  pioneer  of  1844. 

He  was  born  in  Vermont  November  6,  1795,  of  English  and  Scotch 
ancestry.  His  father  was  of  an  aristocratic  family  who  held  high  offices 
in  church  and  state  in  New  England.  His  mother  was  Martha  Jane 
Moore,  whose  people  were  Scotch  and  lived  near  Londonderry,  New 
Hampshire.  Her  first  ancestor  to  this  shore  was  James  Moore,  who 
came  in  April,  1719.  He  married  a  Mack.  Mr.  Bradstreet,  named  Daniel 
Moore  for  his  mother's  people,  was  brought  up  by  his  greatuncle,  Robert 
Mack,  until  manhood,  when  he  moved  to  New  York,  where  he  was  en- 
gaged in  milling. 

His  mother  remained  with  her  father's  family  until  his  majority, 
when  he  did  all  to  make  her  life  one  of  comfort,  he  being  dutiful  and 
particularly  attached  to  her.  His  brother,  William  Bradstreet,  was  a 
hotel  keeper  after  moving  to  New  York  from  New  Hampshire. 

In  1820  he  married  Miss  Clarissa  Todd,  a  daughter  of  Samuel  and 
Mary  Dudley  Todd,  who  made  him  an  exemplary  wife,  his  married  life 
being  one  of  noticable  happiness. 

In  1830  he  was  converted  and  united  with  the  M.  E.  Church,  for  which 
denomination  he  preached,  exhorted  and  helped  in  revivals  from  time  to 
time,  his  wife  greatly  aiding  him  by  her  wise  counsels  and  rare  exper- 
iences. Having  lost  his  fortune  in  the  years  of  commercial  disaster  he 
came  to  Illinois  in  1844. 

He  lived  on  the  claim  he  entered  at  Dixon,  converting  it  into  a  beau- 
tiful country  home,  until  1864,  when  he  retired  from  active  life  and 
resided  in  quiet  and  comfort  at  his  home  in  Franklin  Grove. 

He  was  a  very  strong  Republican  and  took  great  interest  in  politics. 
Having  been  a  major  in  a  company  in  New  York  drilled  for  the  1812  war, 
his  grave  is  reverently  covered  with  the  flag  and  with  flowers  each 
Memorial  Day.  He  died  May  15,  1877,  at  the  advanced  age  of  eighty-one 
and  was  buried  with  honor  from  the  M.  E.  Church  of  Franklin  Grove  and 
escorted  by  the  G.  A.  R.  and  a  very  large  concourse  of  citizens  and  chil- 
dren, the  public  schools  being  closed  in  respect,  being  laid  away  under 
the  last  salute  of  the  soldiers. 

—  227  — 


Col.  Whitney,  with  long  white  hair,  sat  at  the  foot  of  the  coffin  during 
the  funeral  services— the  last  of  the  1812  veterans  in  the  vicinity— the 
Major  having  gone  on,  and  the  Colonel  awaiting  the  summons  of  depar- 
ture. MINNIE  A.  HATJSEN. 


-o- 


fiiff  " 


IN  1844  AND  LATER. 


A  beautiful  stretch  of  country  situated  five  miles  east  of  Rock  River, 
with  its  groves  and  prairies,  was  in  those  early  days  called  "Hoosier 
Hill,"  as  the  Hoosier  population  outnumbered  the  Yankees.  There  were 
many  families  from  Kentucky  also,  and  one  of  whom,  by  name  of  Ferrell, 
greatly  endeared  themselves  to  us,  and  when  my  mother  met  them  and 
heard  the  cordial  greeting  of  "Howdy,  Howdy!"  she  felt  that  she  had 
found  friends  in  this  new  country  who  doubtless  would  prove  true  as 
those  left  behind.  Their  ways  of  living  and  talking  were  very  different 
from  ours  and  often  amusing.  For  instance,  on  inquiring  after  the 
health  of  Mr.  Ferrell  his  good  old  wife  would  say,  "O,  John  is  noaccount," 
meaning  he  was  sick,  and  their  "lots  and  slivers,"  representing  quantity, 
sounded  very  odd  to  the  Yankees. 

Before  the  lands  came  into  market  the  pioneers  made  preemption 
claims  and  built  cabins  and  went  on  improving  the -lands  until  they 
could  be  entered  at  Dixon.  Lee  county  was  not  set  off  from  Ogle. 

One  settler,  a  Mr.  C.,  wanted  to  hold  more  claims  -than  he  could  pay 
for,  and  in  that  way  kept  the  newcomers  from  settling  up  the  prairies. 
This  greatly  enraged  the  Hoosiers  and  when  father  came  seeking  a  home 
they  turned  out  enmasse  to  cut  logs  and  assist  in  building  a  double  log 
cabin.  On  the  eve  of  its  erection  mother  and  five  small  children  were 
landed  on  the  broad  prairie  encircling  it.  Just  then  Mr.  C.  rode  up  and 
threatened  to  tear  the  cabin  down.  This  the  Hoosiers  resented  and  they 
rallied  their  friends  and  came  that  first  night  to  fight  if  need  be  in  our 
defense.  They  divided  into  two  squads;  the  first  squad  watched  until 
two  o'clock  a.  m.  and  no  enemy  appearing  they  decided  on  having  a  little 
fun.  First  they  took  all  the  caps  and  boots  of  the  party  sleeping  and  hid 
them;  then  they  rattled  the  boards  and  screamed  like  Indians  on  the 
warpath,  awakening  the  sleepers,  who,  thinking  the  enemy  upon  them, 

—  228  — 


rushed  out  bareheaded  and  barefooted,  snatching  their  rude  weapons, 
cudgels,  tongs  and  pokers,  to  the  scene  of  the  supposed  conflict.  No 
sooner  done  than  their  places  were  tilled  upon  the  floors  by  the  first  party 
of  watchers.  It  took  some  little  time  before  the  half-dazed,  half-awak- 
ened sleepers  understood  they  were  the  subjects  of  a  practical  joke,  and 
then  what  a  chorus  of  cheers  went  up  from  that  new  cabin! 

The  years  went  on  and  the  family  became  warm  friends  with  their 
early  foe,  who  now  sleeps  the  long,  long  sleep.  The  others,  also,  have 
"moved  on  to  silent  habitations." 

Mr.  and  Mrs.  Ferrell  are  buried  at  Payne's  Point,  and  the  pioneer  and 
wife  whom  they  befriended,  are  at  rest  in  Franklin  Grove  Cemetery. 

MARY  BRADSTREET-HAUSEN. 


Yafe  002^ 


Nathanial  Yale,  with  family,  settled  in  Lee  county,  near  what  is  now 
known  as  Franklin  Grove,  in  the  year  1836.  At  that  time  there  were  only 
three  families  within  a  radius  of  eight  or  possibly  ten  miles.  There  was 
no  land  under  cultivation  in  that  vicinity,  but  several  parties  had  taken 
up  claims  by  plowing  a  furrow  around  the  portion  of  land  selected.  The 
country  was  inhabited  principally  by  prairie  wolves,  deer,  and  a  variety 
of  wild  game. 

At  that  early  day  there  was  no  trading  post  nearer  than  Aurora,  Kane 
county. 

The  Yale  family  first  settled  on  what  is  now  known  as  the  Hussey 
farm,  but  afterwards  built  a  log  cabin  on  the  banks  of  the  Franklin 
Creek  near  the  culvert.  After  remaining  there  for  a  number  of  years 
they  removed  to  another  farm  east  of  town,  locating  permanently. 
Fighting  prairie  fires  was  no  unusual  experience  and  at  night  the  howl- 
ing of  the  wolves  increased  the  gloom  and  loneliness  of  pioneer  life. 

The  family  consisted  of  ten  children,  six  boys  and  four  girls,  of  whom 
five  have  died,  four  live  in  Iowa,  and  one,  Charlotte  Tolman,  is  still  living 
in  Franklin  Grove.  LUCY  B.  (TOLMAN)  COOKB. 


of 


In  writing  a  sketch  of  Temperance  Hill  and  vicinity  I  had  much  pre- 
ferred that  a  more  competent  person  had  been  selected,  for  in  reference 
to  the  earliest  settlements  or  prior  to  1845  my  memory  is  not  very  distinct. 

My  father,  John  Leake,  came  from  Leicestershire,  England,  landing 
in  New  York  June  10th,  1840.  He  immediately  pushed  on  to  the  "far 
west"  and  halted  at  Dixon's  Ferry  Here  he  secured  employment  for  a 
time.  During  that  first  year  in  the  state  he  made  a  trip  down  the  Miss- 
issippi river  to  New  Orleans.  Here,  friendless  and  alone,  he  lived  "three 
days  on  three  ten  cent  pieces,"  then  secured  employment  and  prospered 
for  a  time.  Returning  to  Illinois,  he  was  at  Dixon's  Ferry  in  time  to 
meet  my  mother  and  three  boys,  who  arrived  in  August,  1841.  Two  of 
my  mother's  sisters,  Mrs.  Edward  Willars  and  Mrs.  Daniel  Leake,  with 
their  families,  accompanied  heron  this  long  journey.  They  set  sail  from 
Liverpool.  England,  in  a  sailing  vessel  and  were  thirty-four  days  on  the 
waters,  then  they  traversed  the  Hudson  Eiver  to  Albany,  New  York, 
then  across  New  York  by  canal  to  Buffalo,  then  via  the  lakes  to  Chicago, 
then  by  wagon  to  Dixon's  Ferry.  After  a  little  time  my  father  secured 
a  claim.  Then  a  cabin  was  built  by  setting  rude  posts  in  the  ground, 
roofing  with  boards,  siding  with  shakes  and  chinking  thecracks  and  crev- 
ices with  mud.  In  cold  weather  the  outside  was  banked  up  with  any 
rough  material  that  could  be  secured.  To  this  little  hut  there  was  one 
door,  with  the  "latchstring  hanging  out,"  and  one  window,  set  so  high 
that  persons  sitting  in  the  room  could  net  see  objects  outside.  Across 
one  end  was  set  two  beds  lengthwise,  which  filled  the  space,  but  under 
them  the  ground  was  the  only  floor.  Table  and  chairs  were  not,  but  a 
large  box  served  for  one  and  other  rude  things  for  the  others.  This  one 
room  served  all  the  purposes  and  conveniences  of  home.  For  lights  at 
night  there  was  not  even  the  pine  knot  so  often  used  in  the  forests,  for 
the  prairies  were  almost  destitute  of  timber.  A  tin  cup  holding  about  a 
pint  was  filled  with  clay  made  hollow  in  the  middle.  In  this  center  was 
inserted  a  wire,  wrapped  round  several  times  with  cloth,  the  hollow  in 
the  clay  was  filled  with  lard,  the  top  of  the  cloth  lighted  and  so  a  lamp 
was  formed  for  the  entire  house. 

In  lighting  fires,  the  tinder-box  came  into  good  use.  Paper  was 

—  230  — 


burned,  but  before  it  reached  the  condition  of  ashes  the  fire  Was  extin- 
guished by  placing  a  weight  upon  it  in  a  box.  This  made  the  tinder.  To 
ignite  this  a  spark  of  flre  was  thrown  into  the  box  by  striking  a  piece  of 
steel  with  a  flint.  This  was  touched  with  a  home-made  match  (a  piece 
of  wood  dipped  in  brimstone),  and  thus  a  flame  was  kindled. 

By  selling  his  coat  my  father  was  enabled  to  buy  a  cow,  and  by  labor- 
ing for  twenty-five  cents  per  day  and  taking  for  payment  anything  that 
could  be  used  in  the  family  continuous  living  was  maintained.  The 
scarcity  of  money  in  those  early  times  made  these  things  necessary. 

The  winter  of  1843-44  was  very  severe,  set  in  early  and  continued  late. 
Much  suffering  among  the  early  settlers  resulted,  and  also  much  loss  of 
stock  through  lack  of  feed  and  shelter.  We  were  driven  from  ourshanty 
by  a  snowstorm  in  November.  Whether  our  parents  slept  any  that  night 
or  not  I  can  not  say,  but  when  we  children  woke  in  the  morning  our  beds 
and  everything  in  the  room  were  covered  with  snow.  We  were  hurried 
off  to  my  uncle's,  Mr.  E.  Willars,  who  lived  in  a  log  house.  Following 
this  hard  winter  were  smuil  and  inferior  crops.  The  wheat  was  smutty 
and  made  poor  flour.  The  mills  here  and  there  established  had  not 
proper  machinery  to  clean  it  out,  so  the  flour  was  often  of  a  dark  hue  and 
made  darker  bread.  My  eldest  brother,  William  J.  Leake,  then  a  lad  of 
eleven  years,  was  frequently  sent  to  Meek's  Mill  a  distance  of  seven  or 
eight  miles  with  a  "grist."  He  would  ride  a  pony  with  a  bushel  or  bushel 
and  a  half  of  wheat  in  a  sack,  thrown  across  the  pony's  back.  When 
this  was  ground  the  flour  was  put  in  one  end  of  the  sack  and  the  bran  in 
the  other,  then  boy  and  sack  were  mounted  on  the  pony  and  rode  home. 

Many  of  earth's  nobility  settled  on  these  prairies  in  those  early  flays. 
Mr.  B.  Hannum  opened  his  house  for  the  accommodation  of  travelers. 
Mrs.  H.  was  a  careful  housekeeper.  She  used  to  say,  "I  always  had  a 
place  for  everything,  and  everything  in  its  place,"  so,  if  people  stopped 
there  once  they  were  almost  sure  to  come  again.  Their  house  was  also 
open  for  the  preaching  of  the  gospel  on  the  Sabbath  day.  Mr.  H.  was  a 
strong  temperance  man.  Once,  in  helping  a  neighbor  at  threshing  time, 
his  principles  were  put  to  the  test.  There  was  pudding  on  the  dinner 
table  with  brandy  seasoned  sauce;  when  Mr.  H.  perceived  this  he  refused 
it  and  asked  for  some  without  the  sauce.  By  his  influence  and  wish  the 
vicinity  was  called  Temperance  Hill.  Here,  too,  was  a  station  of  the 
•'underground  railroad"  of  early  abolition  times.  John  Cross  kept  the 
farm  now  owned  by  Mr.  William  Woolcott.  He  had  an  excellent  wife, 
three  daughters  and  two  sons.  Their  house  was  made  a  shelter  for  many 
a  poor  slave  seeking  liberty  in  the  Dominion  of  Canada. 

—  231  — 


The  faith,  courage  and  perseverence  of  the  early  settlers  was  phenom- 
enal. They  pressed  on,  nothing  daunted.  My  mother  used  to  say  she 
never  felt  afraid  of  her  children  wanting  bread  in  this  country  if  they 
had  their  health,  but  she  did  have  that  fear  in  England.  Oh!  those  early 
years!  their  memory  is  full  of  brightness  to  me.  From  April  to  Novem- 
ber the  prairies  were  a  perpetual  flower  garden  of  ever  varying  hue.  Wild 
game  was  abundant;  in  summer  and  autumn  the  groves  were  full  of 
fruits  and  nuts;  nearly  all  the  year  round  the  streams  furnished  fish  for 
our  tables. 

Those  who  maintained  their  homes  through  industry  and  frugality 
secured  a  competency  and  some  gained  wealth,  while  those  who  lived  in 
idleness  or  unrest  came  to  poverty.  THOMAS  LEAKE. 


©j'      •JJi 


"The  good  missionary,  discoverer  of  a  world,  had  fallen  asleep  on  the  margin  of 
the  stream  that  bears  his  name.  Near  its  mouth  the  canalmen  dug  his  grave  in  the 
sand."— BANCBOFTS  HIST.  U.  8. 


A  warrior  falls— the  battefleld 

Hath  trumpet  echoes  for  his  fame; 
A  patriot  dies,  and  nations  yield 

Large  tribute  to  embalm  his  name; 
A  chieftain  sinks,  and  far  resound 

Proud  eulogies;  of  doubtful  birth, 
God's  lowly  servant  rest  hath  found, 

Unnoted  by  the  wise  of  earth. 

Of  him  no  lettered  marbles  tell. 

None  rear  the  monumental  pile; 
For  him  no  pealing  organ's  swell 

Floats  down  the  long  cathedral  aisle; 
There,  but  the  tall  pine's  branches  sweep; 

There,  wild  vines  dewy  blossoms  spread- 
The  forest  rills  with  wailing  deep 

Are  winding  round  his  narrow  bed. 

But  humble  hearts,  and  faithful  tears, 

With  few  and  simple  words  to  heaven, 
Mourned  by  his  grave— whose  sunny  years 

To  show  the  better  path,  were  given; 
Who  on  his  Master's  mission  came 

To  cheer,  to  harmonize,  to  bless; 
The  first  to  breathe  that  holy  name, 

Amid  the  smiling  wilderness. 

Deeply  his  gentle  mind  was  stirred, 

With  fervent  trust  his  soul  imbued. 
When  low  the  warning  voice  was  heard, 

In  the  grey  cloister's  solitude. 
For  him  the  world  was  passing  by. 

In  drowsy  pageant  dusk  and  cold, 
Ambition  held  her  lure  on  high, 

Wealth  vainly  spread  her  nets  of  gold. 

—  237  — 


One  cause,  one  truth,  bound  to  advance, 

With  high  resolve  his  spirit  burned. 
He  grazed  a  last  long  look  on  France, 

Then  to  the  broad  blue  ocean  turned. 
And  what  to  him  was  land  or  clime— 

And  what  to  him  was  gain  or  loss? 
Called  by  the  embassy  sublime. 

To  teach  the  path,  and  plant  the  Cross. 

Since  then  deceit,  and  crime,  and  strife, 

Have  swept  that  forest  race  away; 
Scarce  marked  upon  the  page  of  life, 

Those  heroes  of  the  elder  dav  — 
Urged  by  all  grasping  avarice, 

In  friendly  guise  the  foe  has  come, 
With  evil  deed,  and  strange  device. 

To  seize  the  Indians'  ancient  home. 

And  skilled  in  falsehood's  tortuous  maze 

With  tongue  and  pen  they've  sought  to  brand 
His  lofty  faith,  that  longed  to  raise 

To  light  the  sovereigns  of  the  land. 
His  hope  no  earthly  passion  fed. 

His  moral  strength  no  force  could  bind 
The  master  spring,  in  love  to  spread, 

God's  pure  dominion  over  mind. 

At  one  dread  tribunal  arrayed, 

When  justide  ope's  the  fearful  scroll. 
Among  the  accusers  undismayed 

In  peace  possess  thy  tranquil  soul, 
Perish  the  bauble  wealth  of  fame— 

Or  conquest's  meed,  or  empire's  dross- 
There  is  incribed  thy  righteous  name, 

Soldier  and  servant  of  the  Cross. 

MBS.  HUGH  (LESLIE)  GBAHAM. 


Bf a 


"Lift  welthe  twilight  curtains  of  the  Past 

And,  turning  from  familiar  sight  and  sound, 

Badly  and  full  of  reverence  let  us  cast 

A  glance  upou  Traditions  shadowy  ground." 

We  look  backward  through  a  long  vista  of  years,  and,  like  a  beautiful 
picture  see  our  own  fair  county.  There  are  the  green,  unbroken  praries. 
stretching  away  mile  after  mile,  traversed  by  deer,  antelope,  and  vast 
herds  of  buffalo.  Forests,  dark  with  the  shade  of  oak  and  ash,  of  hickory 
and  walnut.  Rock  River,  winding  in  and  out  by  bluffs  and  valleys,  its 
clear  waters  reflecting  the  flowers  that  grew  on  its  banks,  and  the  grand 
old  eagle  that  built  her  eyrie  on  many  a  rocky  crag.  We  see  too  a  strange, 
wild  race  inhabiting  this  wilderness.  The  silent  moccasined  foot  of  the 
red  man  trod  these  forests,  and  his  villages  dotted  the  valleys.  The 
families  constituting  these  villages,  who  lived,  fought,  and  hunted  to- 
gether, were  called  tribes,  and  the  heads  of  these  tribes  were  called 
chiefs.  Their  succession  generally  depended  upon  birth,  and  was  in- 
herited through  the  female  line.  The  braves  spent  their  time  in  idle- 
ness, their  wants  being  supplied  by  the  squaws.  The  children  were 
educated  in  the  school  of  nature.  Their  savage  passions  were  roused  by 
tales  of  murder  and  battle,  for  the  echoes  of  the  war  song  never  died 
away.  They  loved  bright  colors,  and  when  they  made  visits  or  assembled 
in  council  they  came  in  brilliant  array,  and  a  braves  dress  was  often  a 
history  of  his  life,  so  symbolic  were  his  uses  of  color  and  figures.  It 
seems  strange  that  these  societies,  or  tribes,  could  be  maintained  with- 
out laws,  but  their  ways  of  governing  grew  out  of  necessities.  There  was 
no  public  justice.  Each  man  revenged  himself.  The  power  of  the  chief 
depended  largely  upon  his  personality,  if  he  was  eloquent  he  could  more 
easily  control  his  warriors.  They  were  entranced  by  eloquence,  and 
would  listen  for  hours  to  a  chief  or  brave  who  possessed  this  talent. 
Councils  constituted  their  enjoyment,  but  war  was  their  pathway  to 
fame.  Solemn  fasts  proceeded  their  departure  to  battle,  and  they  sang 

—  239  — 


their  war  songs,  and  danced  the  wild  dances  to  better  prepare  them  for 
victory. 

These  Indians  had  no  temples,  nor  priests,  nor  ceremony  of  religion. 
The  believed  in  a  hereafter,  and  in  a  Great  Spirit,  but  not  in  a  general 
resurection  of  the  body.  Their  veneration  for  the  dead  excelled  that  of 
all  other  nations,  and  the  graves  of  their  forefathers  were  sacred  above 
everything  else  to  them.  Other  nations  can  point  to  art  and  literature 
as  the  enduring  mementoes  of  their  ancestors,  but  the  red  man's  only 
history  is  his  grave.  It  has  been  asked  if  these  Indians  were  not  the 
wrecks  of  more  civilized  nations.  Much  has  been  said  and  written  upon 
this  subiect  but  the  shadows  are  dim  that  glimmer  across  the  voiceless 
darkness  of  uncounted  centuries,  and  time  has  buried  one  fact  after 
another  in  the  grave  of  uncertainty. 

The  onward  march  of  civilization  was,  however,  bringing  a  strange 
new  enemy  to  dispute  the  Indians'  claim  to  this  lovely  Rock  River  valley. 
The  Galena  mines  having  been  opened,  a  tide  of  emigration  from  the 
southern  settlements  swept  along.  In  1827  O.  W.  Kellogg  made  a  trail 
from  Peoria,  then  Ft.  Clark,  through  the  wide  prairie.  He  crossed  Rock 
River  probably  above  Truman's  island  passed  between  Polo  and  Mt.  Morris, 
then  west  to  West  Grove,and  north  to  Galena.  In  1828  John  Boles,  bearing 
to  the  west,  crossed  the  river  near  the  location  of  the  present  bridge,  and 
this  became  the  common  road.  About  this  time  the  government  establish- 
ed a  mail  route  from  Peoria  to  Galena.  The  mail  was  carried  on  horseback 
once  in  two  weeks.  John  Dixon,  then  Circuit  clerk  at  Peoria,  secured  the 
contract.  He,  as  well  as  the  traveling  public,  was  obliged  to  cross  the 
river  in  canoes  and  swim  their  horses.  J  L.  Bogardus  in  1828  attempted 
to  establish  a  ferry  but  was  driven  away  by  the  Indians,  and  his  boat 
burned.  Soon  after  John  Ogee,  a  half-breed  Indian,  built  a  cabin  and 
ran  a  ferry  until  the  spring  of  1830,  when  he  sold  it  to  Father  Dixon.  A 
postoffice  had  been  established  at  Ogee's  Ferry.  Upon  taking  charge  of 
it  Mr.  Dixon  was  also  appointed  post  master,  and  his  name  given  to  both 
office  and  ferry.  Many  of  the  incidents  of  early  pioneer  life  occurred 
here,  and  men  learned  lessons  of  patriotism  and  pluck  soon  to  be  tested 
and  tried  in  the  Black  Hawk  war,  a  brief  history  of  which  I  am  to  give. 

It  is  the  history  of  the  most  picturesque  and  bloody  Indian  war  of  the 
state.  The  true  story  of  its  stormy  incidents  and  tragic  end  has  never 
been  written,  because  never  free  from  personal  or  partizan  prejudice.  It 
is  the  story  of  the  calling  out  of  8,000  volunteers  and  soldiers  of  the  regu- 
lar army,  an  outlay  of  two  million  dollars  and  a  loss  of  1,000  lives.  Going 
back  to  1804,  we  find  that  on  November  4th  of  that  year  General  Harri- 

—  240  — 


son  made  a  treaty  with  the  Sacs  and  Foxes  by  which  they  ceded  all  the 
territory  lying  between  the  Wisconsin,  the  Fox,  the  Illinois,  and  the 
Mississippi  rivers,  with  about  one-third  of  Missouri.  The  land  amounted 
to  about  fifty  million  acres.  For  this  they  were  to  receive  $1,000  a  year. 
By  this  treaty  the  Indians  were  permitted  to  live  and  hunt  upon  these 
lands  until  sold  for  settlement  by  the  government.  A  difference  of 
opinion  regarding  this  clause  was  the  origin  of  the  struggle.  However, 
the  treaty  was  reconfirmed  in  1815,  1816  and  again  in  1822.  Not  far  from 
Rock  Island,  then  Ft.  Armstrong,  was  situated  the  chief  Indian  villaget 
Saukenauk.  It  was  composed  of  500  families,  and  surrounded  by  3,000 
acres  of  land  in  cultivation.  Their  forefathers  were  buried  here,  and  the 
affections  and  interests  of  the  tribe  centered  around  this  village.  This 
tribe  was  divided  into  two  bands,  one  friendly  to  Americans  was  led  by 
the  Chief  Keokuk.  He  was  gifted  with  a  rare  eloquence,  by  means  of 
which  he  retained  his  influence  in  favor  of  the  whites.  The  wild,  turbu- 
lent spirits,  the  chivalry  of  the  nation,  arrayed  themselves  under  the 
banner  of  Keokuk's  rival,  Black  Hawk.  It  had  been  the  policy  of  the 
British  during  the  period  between  the  wars  of  the  revolution  and  1812  to 
foster  a  spirit  of  hostility  among  the  Indians  toward  the  white  settlers. 
In  the  latter  war  Black  Hawk  had  served  as  an  aid  to  the  great  Tecum- 
seh. Long  after  peace  was  declared  he  continued  to  visit  Maiden,  Canada, 
to  receive  presents  from  the  English.  Black  Hawk  was  distinguished  for 
courage,  but  was  of  a  grave,  melancholy  disposition,  disposed  to  brood 
over  imaginary  wrongs.  He  was  not  a  Tecumseh  or  a  Pontiac.  He  had 
not  the  military  genius  to  plan  a  comprehensive  scheme  of  action,  yet  he 
made  a  bold  attempt  to  unite  all  the  Indians  from  Rock  River  to  Mexico 
in  a  war  against  the  pale  faces.  Like  Tecumseh  he  had  his  prophet 
whose  influence  was  great  in  making  recruits  to  the  band. 

In  1823,  although  the  lands  had  not  been  surveyed,  white  settlers 
began  to  squat  on  the  cultivated  portions.  Taking  advantage  of  the 
absence  of  the  Indians  on  their  annual  hunt,  they  fenced  in  the  corn 
fields,  drove  away  the  squaws  and  children,  and  even  burned  their  lodges. 
Disturbances  naturally  followed.  In  1828  Go'v.  Reynold  demanded  the 
expulsion  of  the  Indians,  and  President  Jackson  ordered  their  removal 
across  the  Mississippi  before  April  1,  1830.  A  portion  of  the  tribe,  with 
Keokuk  at  its  head  retired  peaceably.  Black  Hawk  refused  to  abandon 
the  ancient  village,  and  an  arrangement  was  made  with  the  settlers  to 
dwell  together  as  neighbors.  Encouraged  by  the  government  the  squat- 
ters practically  took  oossession  of  the  land.  No  outbreak  occurred  until 
1831,  after  the  return  from  the  annual  hunt,  when  the  Indians  were 

—  241  -- 


ordered  to  depart.  Black  Hawk  replied  with  greatdignity  that  the  lands 
were  his,  and  he  would  defend  his  rights  and  the  graves  of  his  people, 
and  threatened  death  to  all  who  should  remain.  In  response  to  com- 
plaints from  the  settlers  Gov.  Reynolds,  on  May  20,  1831,  made  a  call  for 
700  volunteers,  and  notified  Gen.  Gains,  commander  of  the  military  dis- 
trict, to  repair  to  Rock  Island  with  a  few  companies  of  regulars.  The 
militia  assembled  at  Beardstown  to  the  number  of  1,400  and  were  organ- 
ized and  ready  to  march  by  the  20th  of  June. 

The  brigade  was  put  in  command  of  Gen.  Duncan  of  the  state  militia, 
arid  marched  to  a  point  on  the  Mississippi,  eight  miles  below  the  mouth 
of  Rock  River.  Here  they  joined  Gen.  Gaines  with  a  steamboat  and  sup- 
plies. When  the  troops  reached  the  village  next  morning  they  found  that 
the  Indians,  alarmed  by  their  numbers,  had  crossed  the  river.  The 
soldiers  burned  the  lodges  and  returned  to  Rock  Island.  Black  Hawk, 
then,  for  the  first  time,  ratified  the  treaty,  and  promised  never  to  cross 
the  river  without  permission.  The  government  also  agreed  to  furnish  a 
large  amount  of  corn  and  provisions,  and  thus  ended  the  campaign  of 
1831.  In  1832  the  old  chief  again  crossed  the  river,  and  directed  his  march 
to  the  Rock  River  country,  hoping  to  make  the  Pottowattomies  and 
Winnebagoes  his  allies.  He  might  have  succeeded  in  this  plan  had  it 
not  been  for  Father  Dixon's  influence  over  these  tribes.  Gen.  Atkinson 
was  then  sent  to  Ft.  Armstrong  with  regular  troops.  In  response  to  the 
governor's  call  for  volunteers,  four  regiments,  an  odd  battalion,  a  spy 
battalion,  and  a  foot  battalion  assembled  in  Beardstown  in  April  and 
were  placed  in  command  of  Brig.  Gen.  Whitesidas.  There  were  also  two 
mounted  battalions  numbering  four  hundred  men,  commanded  by  Major 
Stillman.  The  force  consisted  of  2,000  volunteers  and  1,000  regulars. 
Abraham  Lincoln  commanded  a  company  in  the  4th  regiment, 
and  Sidney  Breese  held  the  position  of  2nd  lieutenant.  The  army 
reached  Ft.  Armstrong  May  7,  1832.  They  were  there  reinforced  by  Col. 
Taylor  in  whose  command  was  Lieut.  Jeff  Davis.  It  was  here  divided 
into  two  wings.  One  was  commanded  hy  Gen.  Atkinson,  who  proceeded 
up-the  river  by  boats.  The  other,  under  Gen.  Whitesides,  marched  by 
land.  Reaching  Prophetstown  they  found  it  deserted.  Pushing  forward 
they  reached  Dixon's  Ferry  May  12th.  They  found  here  the  battalions 
under  Bailey  and  Stilirnan  eager  for  battle  and  fame,  and  unwilling  to 
attach  themselves  to  the  main  body.  They  were  sent  to  Old  Man's  Creek 
to  coerce  some  hostile  Indians  at  that  point.  Black  Hawk,  supposing 
they  were  Atkinson's  force,  sent  a  flag  of  truce;  but  the  rangers  killed  and 
captured  the  messengers,  save  two.  Upon  their  return  Black  Hawk  tore 

—  242  — 


the  flag  in  tatters,  and  at  the  head  of  his  warriors,  with  the  war  cry  of 
the  Sacs,  advanced  to  the  charge.  The  volunteers  beat  a  hasty  retreat 
and  only  halted  when  they  reached  Dixon's  Ferry.  This  was  called  trie" 
battle  of  Stillman's  Run,  and  the  whites  here  lost  eleven  men,  and  had 
several  wounded.  On  May  the  19th  the  entire  army  proceeded  up  the 
river  leaving  Stillman's  men  at  Dixon.  They,  however,  deserted,  and 
Gen.  Atkinson  returned  with  his  men,  while  Gen.  Whitesides,  force  went 
in  pursuit  of  the  enemy.  Black  Hawk  had  divided  his  warriors  intosraall 
bands,  and  they  were  sweeping  clown  upon  defenseless  homes,  killing  and 
scalping  all  who  came  in  their  path.  Seventy  Indians  made  a  descent 
upon  the  small  settlement  of  Indian  Creek,  a  tributary  of  Fox  River,  and 
massacred  fifteen  persons  belonging  to  the  families  of  Hall,  Davis  and 
Pettigrew.  They  took  two  young  girls,  prisoners,  Silvia  and  Rachel  Hall. 
After  scalping  their  other  victims  they  hurried  these  girls  away  by  forced 
marches  beyond  the  reach  of  pursuit.  They  had  a  long  and  fatiguing 
journey  through  a  wilderness,  with  but  little  to  eat,  and  were  subjected 
to  a  variety  of  fortune.  At  last  their  friends,  through  the  chiefs  of  the 
Winnebagoes,  ransomed  them  for  two  thousand  dollars,  and  they  were 
delivered  at  Dixon.  The  horrible  experiences  of  that  day,  together  with 
the  treatment  they  received,  left  its  awful  impress  on  their  minds.  In 
after  years  my  mother  knew  these  girls,  then  grown  to  womanhood,  and 
it  was  an  often  remarked  fact  that  they  had  never  been  seen  to  smile. 
They  would  sit,  silent  and  melancholy,  for  hours,  taking  no  part  in  the 
conversation,  nor  manifesting  interest  in  their  surroundings. 

The  volunteers  becoming  dissatisfied  were  mustered  out  by  Lieut. 
Robert  Anderson,  of  Ft.  Sumpter  fame.  Gov.  Reynolds  again  called  for 
2,000  men  whose  enlistment  should  be  for  the  war.  Gen.  Scott  was  or- 
dered to  proceed  from  the  east  with  1,000  regulars,  and  while  these  were 
being  organized  300  volunteers  were  recruited  from  the  disbanded  com- 
panies. General  Whitesides  and  Abraham  Lincoln  re-enlisted  as  privates 
in  this  number.  The  new  forces  were  divided  into  three  brigades,  with 
.  a  spy  battalion  to  each.  Major  John  Dement  commanded  one  of  these 
battalions.  The  volunteers'  force  was  also  increased  by  a  battalion  under 
Col.  Henry  Dodge.  Posey's  brigade  was  ordered  between  Galena  and 
Rock  River.  Alexander  was  dispatched  to  Plum  River  to  intercept  Black 
Hawk,  while  Henry  remained  at  Dixon  with  Gen.  Atkinson.  On  June 
6th  Black  Hawk  led  an  attack  on  the  fort  at  Apple  River,  the  engage- 
ment lasting  fifteen  hours.  Here  the  women  and  children  showed  rare 
courage  and  presence  of  mind,  busying  themselves  during  those  awful 
hours  in  moulding  bullets.  The  enemy  at  length  retreated  after  destroy 

—  243  — 


ing  everything  in  their  path.  On  June  14th  occurred  the  engagement  at 
Pecatonica  where  Gen.  Dodge  pursued  a  party  of  Indians,  who  had  mur- 
dered some  white  settlers,  until  they  took  shelter  under  a  high  bluff  of 
the  river  and  there  killed  the  whole  party.  This  charge  was  as  brave 
and  brilliant  as  any  on  record  in  this  or  any  other  Indian  war. 

While  passing  through  Burr  Oaks  grove  June  16th  a  company 
of  soldiers  were  attacked  by  seventy  warriors,  but  owing  largely 
to  the  courage  of  private  Gen.  Whitesides  they  were  repulsed  with  great 
loss.  June  17th  Capt  Stephenson  had  a  skirmish  with  a  party  at  Prairie 
Grove  where  a  number  were  killed.  June  25th  occurred  the  battle  of 
Kellogg's  Grove. 

Major  John  Dement  with  his  battalion  had  received  orders  from  Col. 
Taylor  at  Dixon  to  defend  their  post.  Accordingly  he  took  position  in 
the  heart  of  the  Indian  country.  Learning  that  Black  Hawk  and  a 
large  force  were  in  the  vicinity  he  went  out  with  a  party  to  reconoiter 
and  was  suddenly  attacked  by  300  warriors.  Finding  himself  in  danger 
of  being  surrounded  by  a  superior  force  he  slowly  retired  to  h's  camp, 
closely  pursed  by  the  enemy;  here  he  took  possession  of  Kellogg's  first 
log  house.  His  defense  was  so  brave,  and  his  aim  so  sure  that  the  Indians 
finally  retreated,  leaving  many  dead  upon  the  Held.  When  the  news  of 
the  battle  reached  Dixon's  Ferry,  Alexander's  brigade  was  sent  in  the 
direction  of  Plum  River,  while  Gen.  Atkinson  marched  toward  Lake 
Koshkoning,  farther  up  Rock  River.  It  was  supposed  Black  Hawk  had 
concentrated  his  forces  here  with  the  intention  of  ending  the  war  in  a 
general  battle.  Reaching  this  point  July  2nd.  no  enemy  was  found,  and 
being  destitute  of  provisions  Gen.  Henry  with  Dodge's  battalion  which 
had  joined  him  was  sent  to  Ft.  Winnebago  for  supplies:  hearing  that 
Black  Hawk  was  in  the  vicinity  they  gave  pursuit  and  on  the  21st  over- 
took him  in  a  ravine  near  the  Wisconsin  River.  Amid  the  yells  of  the 
Indians  and  the  cries  of  the  whites  the  battle  raged  until  the  Indians 
were  overpowered  and  driven  from  the  field.  The  main  army  under  Gen. 
Atkinson  having  joined  Henry  and  Dodge,  the  whole  crossed  the  Wiscon- 
sin River  and  on  the  2nd  of  August  overtook  Black  Hawk  at  the  mouth 
of  the  Bad  Axe,  where  his  warriors  were  defeated  and  dispersed.  This  bat- 
tle broke  the  power  of  Black  Hawk,  who  was  taken  prisoner  August  27th 
and  delivered  to  the  United  States  officers.  The  final  treaty  of  peace  was 
signed  September  21st.  Black  Hawk,  Neopope,  and  the  Prophet  were 
imprisoned  at  Fortress  Monroe  till  June  4,  1833.  On  parting  with  Col. 
Eustis,  the  commander  of  the  fort,  Black  Hawk  addressed  him  with  sim- 
ple pathos:  "The  memory  of  your  friendship  will  remain  until  the  Great 

—  244  - 


Spirit  says  that  it  is  time  for  Black  Hawk  to  sing  his  death  song."  Pre- 
senting him  with  a  beautiful  hunting  suit  and  some  feathers  of  the  white 
eagle  he  said:  "Accept  these  from  Black  Hawk  and  when  he  is  far  away 
they  will  serve  to  remind  you  of  him.  May  the  Great  Spirit  bless  you 
and  your  children." 

After  a  tour  of  the  principal  eastern  cities  Black  Hawk  was  returned 
to  Ft.  Armstrong  August  1st,  where  he  was  made  the  ward  of  Keokuk. 
He  died  October  3,  1840,  at  the  age  of  eighty  years,  and  was  buried  near 
the  Mississippi  River,  where  no  passer  by  bestows  even  the  tribute  of  a 
sigh  to  his  memory,  and  his  only  requiem  is  the  plaintive  note  of  the 
lone  whippoorwill.  August  15,  1832,  the  troops  were  mustered  out  at 
Dixon's  Ferry  by  Lieut.  Robt.  Anderson,  and  disbanded  by  General  Scott. 
Thus  ended  the  Black  Hawk  war,  which  in  our  backward  glance  at  time 
we  little  understand  or  appreciate.  Compared  with  the  civil  war  it  may 
seem  trivial,  but  not  in  proportion  to  the  number  of  inhabitants  and  the 
facilities.  It  was  a  war  without  roads  or  bridges,  without  railroads  or 
telegraphs,  and  without  the  modern  equipments  of  to-day.  It  was  a  war 
with  barbarians,  full  of  horrors  which  in  these  faraway  days,  no  heart 
can  conceive,  no  tongue  can  tell,  and  no  pen  can  write.  It  was  a  war 
between  these  rude  children  of  nature  clinging  to  kinsman,  home,  and 
country,  and  a  race  of  brave  pioneers  who  saw  in  the  future  a  rising  na- 
tion spread  over  this  rude  and  fruitful  land  advancing  to  a  destiny  beyond 
the  reach  of  mortal  eye.  And,  however,  historians  may  disagree  about 
the  right  and  wrong,  none  can  deny  that  it  was  the  means  of  hastening 
the  early  settlement  of  northern  Illinois  by  a  better  class  of  people  than 
in  other  portions  of  the  state. 

Dixon's  Ferry  was  at  that  time  the  central  point  of  interest  between 
Chicago,  then  a  small  frontier  post,  and  the  Mississippi.  The  settlers 
from  Rockford  being  obliged  to  go  there  for  their  mail.  From  1829  to 
1835  all  the  emigration  to  Galena  and  the  lead  mines  crossed  the  river 
there.  It  was  made  up  of  all  conditions  and  sorts  of  men.  There  the 
red  man  came  to  barter  their  furs,  and  there  the  chiefs  gathered  in  sol- 
emn council.  There  during  the  war  the  troops  rendezvoused  because  it 
was  the  most  central  position  for  supplies,  and  the  most  advantageous 
ground  for  maneuvering  both.  There  was  built  the  most  pretentious 
fort  in  the  state,  It  consisted  of  two  block  houses  situated  on  the  north 
bank  of  the  river  a  few  rods  west  ef  the'ferr}.  It  was  guarded  by  a  com- 
pany of  infantry,  thus  assuring  the  safety  of  the  crossing  to  all.  There 
the  wandering  red  men  bade  a  last  farewell  to  their  hunting  grounds, 
and  sought  a  home  beyond  the  great  river,  where  they  hoped  to  escape 

—  245  — 


the  onward  march  of  the  white  man.  There  Father  Dixon  distributed 
the  forty  thousand  rations  sent  from  Rock  Island  for  them.  There  were 
gathered  citizen  soldiers  who  had  held  every  office  in  the  gift  of  the 
people,  and  who  had  achieved  honor  and  success.  There  at  a  little  out- 
post in  a  prairie  wilderness  was  assembled  a  group  of  men  whose  fame 
has  spanned  the  world.  Would  that  time  permitted  me  to  call  the  roll, 
to,  "Roll  back  the  tide  of  time,  and  raise  the  faded  forms  of  other  days.1' 
In  fancy's  dream  we  would  see  Father  Dixon,  the  first  white  settler,  the 
noble  representative  of  a  proud  ambitious  race,  exchanging  the  courtesies 
of  life  with  untaught  savages,  and  they  called  him  friend.  Born  at  a 
time  when  the  republic  had  a  name  but  not  a  history,  and  gifted  with 
rare  unselfishness,  justice  and  patriotism,  he  exerted  all  his  energies  to 
uplift  degraded  humanity.  In  the  accomplishment  of  this  mission  he 
was  able  to  render  most  important  service  in  the  war,  and  won  the  re- 
spect and  friendship  of  the  many  eminent  men  of  his  acquaintance.  His 
roof  sheltered  all,  friend  and  foe,  and  the  Indian  chiefs  in  solemn  council 
sat  down  to  his  table  as  honored  guests.  Though  filling  many  offices 
acceptably,  his  chief  interest  was  the  advancement  of  the  town  which 
bore  his  name,  and  for  this  he  labored  with  generous  and  untiring  zeal. 
He  had  the  honor  of  being  a  passenger  on  Fulton's  first  steamboat  up  the 
Hudson  and  paid  the  first  fare  the  famous  inventor  received.  A  true 
honest  manhood  crowned  his  life  and  his  grave  is  hallowed  by  the  loving 
memories  of  the  community.  Peacefuily  he  sleeps,  his  dirge  the  rustle 
of  the  leaves  and  the  soft  moan  of  the  beautiful  river  he  loved  so  weli. 
Under  the  same  shadows  lies  one  who  when  a  lad  of  thirteen  came 
with  his  parents  from  the  plains  of  Tennessee,  seeking  a  new  home  in  a 
new  state.  From  that  day  John  Dement  directed  his  best  energies  to 
building  up  the  commonwealth,  and  our  territorial  and  state  laws  to-day 
bear  the  impress  of  his  sound  sense  and  good  judgement.  In  early  man- 
hood he  was  chosen  to  public  office  and  continued  to  serve  the  people  in 
county,  city  and  state  through  a  long  life.  While  acting  as  state  treas- 
urer he  took  pajt  in  the  three  campaigns  of  the  Black  Hawk  war.  In 
the  first  he  acted  as  aide-de-camp  to  Gov.  Reynolds  and  was  witness  to 
the  treaty.  The  following  year,  while  residing  at  Vandalia,  he  again 
enlisted  and  was  sent  by  Gen.  Whitesides  with  six  men  to  visit  Shabbona, 
the  Pottawattomie  chief,  thirty  miles  north  of  Dixon,  and  warn  him 
not  to"  allow  Black  Hawk  to  come  upon  his  lands  to  live.  While  out  on 
this  expedition  he  learned  the  location  of  this  chief's  land  and  on  the 
following  day  reported  to  the  commander  at  Dixon.  He  then  returned 
home  and  for  the  third  time  joined  the  volunteers,  was  made  commander 

—  246  — 


of  a  spy  battalion  and  reported  to  Col.  Zachary  Taylor  at  Dixon.  From 
there  he  was  sent  in  search  of  Black  Hawk  and  led  the  brilliant  engage- 
ment at  Kellogg's  Grove,  where  for  the  first  time  the  troops  held  their 
position  till  reinforcements  arrived.  In  the  story  of  Black  Hawk's  life, 
as  told  by  himself,  he  complimented  the  young  white  chief  in  an  eloquent 
manner  on  his  coolness,  and  courage,  and  it  is  a  remarkable  fact  that  the 
histories  all  coincide  in  awarding  the  palm  for  military  tact  and  daring 
courage  to  Col.  Dement  and  Henry  Dodge,  afterwards  his  father-in-law. 
Col.  Dement  is  identified  with  the  story  of  the  war  from  beginning  to 
end  and  no  one  had  a  more  intimate  acquaintance  and  friendship  with 
the  many  distinguished  men  engaged  in  it.  It  is  greatly  to  be  regretted 
that  the  the  events  of  that  time  had  not  been  written  at  his  dictation, 
with  all  the  wealth  of  personal  and  local  incidents  he  had  at  command. 
With  the  addition  of  the  personal  recollections  of  Mrs.  Dement,  then 
Miss  Dodge,  no  history  in  existence  would  have  been  of  more  interest  or 
value.  Many  of  the  facts  I  have  given  you  have  been  verified  by  a  letter 
from  Geo.  W.  Jones. 

He  served  in  the  war  as  adjutant  to  Gen.  Dodge  and  was  afterwards 
United  States  Senator  from  Iowa,  where  he  now  resides.  Although 
nearly  ninety  years  old  he  narrates  the  scenes  of  that  long  ago  time  with 
great  clearnees  and  recalls  many  interesting  anecdotes  of  pioneer  life 
and  distinguished  men.  Very  touching  and  very  beautiful  are  the  mem- 
ories of  his  dear  old  friends,  Col.  Dement  and  the  Dodge  family,  which 
this  old  man  so  lovingly  lingers  over  as  a  precious  part  of  his  own  young 
manhood.  After  the  war  Col.  Dement  was  again  called  to  fill  offices  of 
honor  and  trust  and  at  length  removed  with  the  land  office  from  Galena 
to  Dixon,  There  he  passed  the  happiest  years  of  his  life  rejoicing  in  the 
rising  fortunes  of  the  city,  part  of  which  bears  his  name.  These  scenes 
had  woven  a  spell  about  his  heart  which  no  separation  could  break  and 
coming  age  but  added  strength  to  the  enchantment  which  was  a  "twi- 
light of  the  brightness  passed  away." 


In  these  times  of  danger  and  hardship  women  too  had  a  place.  Mrs. 
Dixon  was  the  first  white  woman  who  settled  in  Lee  county  and  she  was 
well  equipped  for  the  allotted  place  in  life.  She  was  remarkably  intelli- 
gent, warm-hearted  and  ready  for  any  good  work.  Under  her  roof  all 
were  welcome  and  she  had  the  tact  and  insight  to  keep  the  peace  and 
friendship  of  all,  red  and  white,  who  gathered  there.  The  winter  pre- 
ceding the  war  Black  Hawk  and  a  number  of  chiefs  held  a  council  at 
Dixon's  Ferry.  These  chiefs  were  invited  to  sit  down  to  her  table  three 

—  247  — 


times  a  day,  where  she  presided  gracefully,  eating  and  drinking  with 
them.  Black  Hawk,  as  spokesman  for  the  rest,  thanked  her  for  her  great 
kindness  and  ever  afterwards  remembered  it.  The  nearest  neighbors 
were  Mr.  Kelloggs,  who  had  settled  at  Kellogg's  Grove  in  1828,  and  some 
families  who  had  located  at  Buffalo  Grove,  now  Polo,  the  same  year.  In 
1831  the  Kelloggs  moved  to  Buffalo  Grove  and  the  Reeds  arrived  the  same 
day.  Annie  Kellogg,  now  Mrs.  E.  B.  Baker  of  Dixon,  and  Fanny  Reed, 
now  Mrs.  Fanny  Dixon,  are  the  only  persons  in  Lee  county  who  were 
here  during  the  war  and  no  history  has  the  reality  which  attaches  to  the 
story  from  their  lips.  In  1831  the  settlers,  fearing  an  outbreak,  joined 
others  at  Apple  River  and  commenced  to  build  a  fort,  when  a  dispatch 
was  received  informing  them  that  a  treaty  had  been  made  and  they 
might  return.  In  1832  a  messenger  arrived  at  Buffalo  Grove  with  the 
news  of  Stillman's  defeat  and  advised  them  to  go  immediately  to  Dixon. 
Mrs.  Baker  remembers  that  morning  distinctly.  Her  father  had  gone  to 
Galena  for  supplies  and  her  mother  was  alone  with  a  hired  man  and  her 
two  little  children.  Leaving  the  breakfast  table  her  mother  and  the 
man  mounted  their  horses,  each  taking  a  child.  Little  Annie  rode  on  a 
pillow,  the  only  article  they  brought  away  with  them.  Arriving  at 
Dixon,  Mrs.  Dixon  gave  them  a  generous  welcome.  Mrs.  Baker  remem- 
bers the  Indians,  of  whom  she  had  no  fpar.  She  has  often  seen  Black 
Hawk  and  describes  him  as  a  large,  hard-faced  Indian  not  at  all  noted 
for  beauty.  She  went  freely  to  their  wigwams  and  was  taught  their 
dances  by  the  chiefs,  After  their  departure  the  Indians  rifled  the  house 
of  everything  save  the  feathers,  which  they  turned  out  of  the  ticks  on 
the  floor.  Mrs.  Baker's  greatest  trial  was  the  loss  of  a  certain  little 
wooden  dog,  very  dear  to  her  childish  heart,  which  she  had  forgotten  in 
her  flight.  After  spending  two  weeks  with  the  Dixon  family  they  were 
all  sent  to  Galena  with  an  escort  of  soldiers  and  did  not  return  to  their 
homes  until  late  autumn.  On  the  road  they  passed  their  old  home  and 
found  every  tree  and  shrub  loaded  with  a  strange  fruit — feathers.  A 
number  of  Indians  had  improvised  a  thicket  by  cutting  down  small  trees 
and  sticking  them  in  the  ground,  and  were  hidden  behind  them.  They 
were  so  near  the  road  that  they  easily  recognized  the  party.  These 
women  and  children  had  always  been  honest,  truthful  and  kind  in  all 
their  dealings  with  the  savages,  and  to  this  they  owed  their  escape  from 
a  cruel  death.  Can  we  realize  in  any  degree  the  heroism  lived  every  day 
of  these  brave  lives?  In  1833  they  were  again  compelled  to  leave  their 
homes  by  rumors  of  war,  but  returned  before  harvest  and  were  never  dis- 
turbed afterwards.  Mrs.  Baker  remembers  Dixon  when  it  consisted  of 

—  248  — 


Father  Dixon's  log  house,  located  on  the  site  of  Frenzel's  meat  market, 
and  the  block  houses  on  the  north  side.  The  army  was  encamped  on  the 
flat  north  of  Main  street  and  west  of  Galena  street. 


Perhaps  no  group  of  tents  ever  sheltered  so  many  men  who  afterwards 
became  famous  in  our  own  country  and  the  whole  world.  There  was 
Sindney  Breese,  who  came  to  Illinois  in  1818,  and  for  sixty  years  was  a 
strong  factor  in  professional,  political  and  judicial  life.  In  1831  he  pub- 
lished a  law  report,  which  was  the  first  book  printed  in  the  state,  person- 
ally assisting  in  the  work. '  In  1832  he  volunteered  as  a  private  in  the 
Black  Hawk  war,  where  he  rose  to  an  office  outranking  Taylor  and  An- 
derson. To  him  belongs  the  honor  of  projecting  the  Illinois  Central 
Railroad,  and  he  desired  no  other  inscription  on  the  marble  above  him. 
In  1840  he  had  the  greater  honor  of  making  the  first  congressional  effort 
to  build  the  great  Pacific  railway.  He  confronted  opposition  in  congress 
and  out,  in  regard  to  the  new  route  for  the  commerce  and  wealth  of  the 
east  to  enter  the  western  world.  The  monument  commemorates  these 
services,  and  the  grand  old  man  went  proudly  to  his  grave  with  the 
consciousness  that  what  he  had  done  would  live  after  him  as  the  heritage 
of  a  great  man  to  his  country. 

The  name  of  Robert  Anderson  will  ever  be  associated  with  the  fall  of 
Fort  Sumter,  the  central  act  of  the  war,  and  the  most  important  from  a 
military  standpoint.  The  story  of  the  insult  to  the  nation's  flag,  and  his 
gallant  defense,  as  it  flashed  over  the  North  was  the  signal  for  a  resur- 
rection of  patriotism  which  swept  away  all  party  lines  and  united  the 
people  in  one  common  love  of  country.  Yet  the  man  so  strong  and  brave 
in  the  war  lifted  a  little  wounded  Indian  child  from  beside  its  dead 
mother,  had  its  arm  amputated,  and  tenderly  cared  lor  its  wants.  He 
lived  to  unfurl  the  old  flag  again  over  the  fort,  and  over  an  undivided 
nation.  Perhaps  he  learned  lessons  of  bravery  while  marching  through 
this  valley  under  command  of  Col.  Taylor,  of  whom  it  was  said,  "he  never 
surrendered,"  and  who  was  afterwards  President  of  the  United  States. 
Though  he  was  a  slaveholder  he  was  wise,  sincere  and  honest,  and  bitterly 
opposed  to  the  extension  of  slavery.  He  was  not  a  statesman  by  genius 
or  habit,  but  he  was  a  personal  example  of  a  patriot  striving,  in  his  own 
last  words,  "to  do  my  duty."  This  sentiment  he  strongly  emphasized  in 
his  speech  to  the  volunteers  at  Dixon's  Ferry,  where  he  said:  "You  are 
citizen  soldiers,  and  some  of  you  may  fill  hi^h  offices,  or  even  be  President 
some  day,  but  never  unless  you  do  your  duty.  Forward!  March!"  Did 
some  shadowy  finger  of  prophecy  open  to  him  the  doors  of  futurity?  Did 

—  249  — 


he  see  himself,  Abraham  Lincoln  and  Jefferson  Davis  filling  these  places? 
May  we  not  believe  that  the  sound  of  the  war  cry  and  the  sight  of  tha 
scalping  knife  cast  a  witchery  over  the  soul  of  the  young  Lieut.  Davis, 
never  to  be  broken  till  in  madness  he  lifted  his  hand  against  the  Union, 
and  proclaimed  his  loyalty  to  the  State  and  to  the  slave  power.  How 
infamous  that  descent  from  conspiracy  to  treason,  from  treason  to  rebel- 
lion, from  rebellion  to  a  civil  war  which  rent  asunder  the  most  sacred 
ties  of  humanity,  tilled  hearts  and  homes  from  sea  to  sea  with  anguish 
and  tears,  and  baptised  this  fair  land  with  the  life-blood  of  300,000  of  the 
republic's  bravest  sons.  And  yet  the  sacrifice  was  not  complete  until  the 
assassin's  hand  struck  clown  the  idol  of  a  loyal  people — Abraham  Lincoln. 
In  the  rank  and  file  of  the  Indian  war  he  walked  a  simple  childlike  man, 
unknown  to  fortune  or  fame.  Gifted  with  a  rare  patience  and  a  wise 
moderation,  born  of  a  native  kindliness,  he  had  ever  that  charm  given 
only  to  those  in  whose  souls  the  fountain  of  tears  and  the  fountain  of 
laughter  lie  close  together,  and  their  mingling  waters  bear  men  along  on 
a  resistless  current  of  sympathy.  Even  then  hung  over  him  that  strange 
sadness  which  cast  a  shadow  over  his  life,  "My  destiny  is  upon  me."  He 
had  that  which  endures  in  human  character — the  power  of  growth,  the 
upward  movement,  the  aspiration  for  better  things,  which  thirty  years 
later  sent  him  forth  to  be  the  ruler  of  the  greatest  nation  on  earth — the 
leader  of  its  embattled  hosts  in  a  conflict  between  North  and  South, 
between  firearms  and  genius,  and  between  the  great  principles  of  Free- 
dom and  Slavery.  By  the  singular  power  of  his  personality  he  achieved 
a  victory  which  won  for  him  the  reverence  of  a  nation,  and  the  worship 
of  an  emancipated  race.  How  passing  strange  that  with  the  eyes  of  the 
world  upon  him  in  those  dark  days,  the  memories  of  his  early  life  in  Lee 
county  and  Dixon  should  find  a  place.  After  the  fall  of  Fort  Sumter, 
in  conversation  with  Robert  Anderson  he  reminded  him  of  those  meet- 
ings which  he  had  forgotten,  saying,  "You  mustered  me  into  the  United 
States  service  during  the  Black  Hawk  war  as  a  high  private  of  the  Illi- 
nois volunteers  at  Dixon's  Ferry." 

Though  never  again  permitted  to  visit  these  early  scenes,  the  ideal  of 
his  life  has  become  the  ideal  of  many  lives,  adding  to  the  moral  and 
spiritual  capital  of  the  world,  and  sounding  the  key  note  of  a  strain 
which  abides  forever. 

One  by  one  they  have  vanished  from  our  sight  till  only  two  remain 
who  lived  through  the  scenes  of  the  Black  Hawk  war.  Could  they  but 
tell  their  story  here  to-day  your  hearts  would  be  filled  with  admiration 
and  regret  that  we  who  reap  the  fruit  of  their  toil  have  failed  to  preserve 

—  250  — 


these  precious  bits  of  tradition  and  history  now  buried  with  the  dead. 
The  American  nation,  though  young  in  years,  has,  by  means  of  its  vast 
accumulations  of  wealth,  been  stamped  throughout  the  civilized  world 
with  materialism.  And  as  this  wealth  flows  in  perennial  streams  among 
the  people  is  there  not  danger  that  we  may  fulfill  the  prophecies  of  for- 
eign nations  by  allowing  this  characteristic  to  stamp  itself  too  deeply, 
not  only  upon  our  lives,  but  upon  our  exhibits  at  the  World's  Fair.  On 
the  women  of  America  rests  the  burden  of  modifying  this  tendency  by 
awakening  and  cultivating  an  interest  in  all  educational  matters. 

No  subject  is  attracting  more  attention  from  women's  clubs  in  con- 
nection with  the  World's  Fair  than  the  history  of  our  own  country.  It 
has  become  a  duty  as  well  as  a  pleasure  to  collect  and  preserve  all  that 
relics,  record  or  tradition  can  add  to  the  unwritten  pages.  Whether  it 
is  possible  or  practical  with  our  facts  to  make  such  an  exhibit  remains 
to  be  decided  upon.  To  what  bright  sister  shall  belong  the  honor  of 
devising  some  plan  of  action  by  which  we  may  be  represented  in  the  his- 
torical exhibit  of  the  state  if  nothing  more.  Why  should  not  Lee  county 
be  made  a  point  of  historical  interest,  for  time  and  history  do  at  last 
come  to  hallow  and  make  remarkable  all  places  connected  with  great 
men  and  great  enterprises.  What  a  picture  for  the  artist's  brush!  A 
solitary  cabin  standing  by  the  Indian's  "Sinnissippi,"  amid  the  vast  sol- 
itudes of  a  prairie  desert,  and  in  its  open  door  Nachusa,  the  herald  of 
peace  and  goodwill,  receiving  on  the  one  hand  a  deputation  of  the  native 
sons  of  the  soil  bearing  in  their  hands  their  rude  offerings;  on  the  other 
a  group  of  men  whose  names  and  deeds  adorn  history's  page,  and  speak 
to  listening  multitudes  through  song  and  story,  through  marble  and 
canvas,  and  floating  over  all  the  banner  of  our  own  proud  state  with  the 

simple  legend,  "Illini"  the  land  of  men. 

i 


OF  NORTHWESTERN  ILLINOIS. 


THE  writer  of  the  following  reminiscences  came  from  eastern  New 
York  to  Illinois  in  the  early  spring  of  1846.  The  land  he  left  was 
highly  picturesque,  being  characterized  by  high  hills  with  deep 
valleys  between.  It  was  a  rocky  region,  and  the  cultivated  fields  being 
largely  reclaimed  from  the  prevailing  forests,  bore  striking  evidence 
of  their  original  estate  by  the  numerous  stumps  remaining,  which 
awaited  the  action  of  time  to  crumble  into  dust:  The  land  to  which  he 
came,  however,  was  a  signal  contrast  to  this.  Forests  there  were  none 
worthy  the  name.  Narrow  skirts  of  timber  fringed  the  sluggish  streams, 
while  all  the  land  between  these  water-courses  lay  in  a  broad  and  beau- 
tiful expanse  of  undulating  prairie,  studded  with  wild  flowers  of  various 
hues  and  forms.  The  view  of  this  heautiful  land  was  enchanting,  and  as 
we  traversed  it  by  stage — for  at  that  time  there  was  not  a  foot  of  railroad 
in  the  state — we  thought  it  the  garden  spot  of  earth. 

Leaving  Chicago— which  then  was  but  a  respectable  village,  clustered 
on  the  shore  of  the  lake  about  the  mouth  of  the  insignificant  bayou 
called  the  "river" — we  were  not  long  in  reaching  the  first  stage  station. 
Here  fresh  horses  were  secured  and  with  successive  relays  of  animals,  and 
under  the  direction  of  skilltul  "Jehu"  drivers,  we  swept  over  the  beauti- 
ful emerald  ocean  until  we  reached  what  was  then  known  as  the  "Rock 
River  country."  Enchanting  as  had  been  the  scenery  all  the  way,  it 
seemed  to  us  that  nothing  could  excel  the  beauty  of  the  region  around 
what  was  then  known  as  "Dixon's  Ferry."  For  miles  before  we  reached 
the  little  cluster  of  houses  so  named,  the  landscape  seemed  to  acquire 
new  attractions  at  every  step,  until,  ascending  the  eminence  to  the  east 
of  the  valley,  we  attained  a  view  of  the  valley  and  the  crystal  stream 
rolling  through  it,  our  involuntary  exclamation  was,  "surely  nothing  can 
excel  this."  The  judgment  then  formed  has  not  been  reversed,  though 
nearly  half  a  century  has  since  passed  away. 

—  255  — 


Our  destination  being  Galena,  the  center  of  the  mining  section  of  the 
state,  we  were  not  many  hours  in  reaching  that  city,  which  we  found  to 
be  at  that  early  day  a  far  more  attractive  and  more  wealthy  place  than 
Chicago.  The  principal  industries  were  mining  lead  ore,  smelting  it  and 
shipping  the  lead.  As  the  chief  market  for  this  metal  was  England,  the 
circulating  medium  in  and  around  Galena  was  largely  gold  of  the  denom- 
ination of  sovereigns.  These  having  in  the  mines  a  local  value  exceeding 
bv  some  four  or  five  cents  each  what  they  would  bring  elsewhere,  were 
kept  very  largely  in  that  portion  of  the  State.  Little  paper  money  was 
in  circulation,  and  what  there  was  seemed  to  be  looked  upon  with  suspi- 
cion, as  indeed  it  might  well  be,  for  the  banks  were  then  mostly  of  a 
private,  and  very  largely  of  an  irresponsible  character.  Silver  for  small 
change  was  quite  plentiful,  though  it  was  hard  for  eastern  ears  to  recog- 
nize it  under  the  new  names  it  bore.  The  "levy,"  "flp,"  and  "bit,"  were 
the  names  of  honest  silver  coin,  and  names  brought  in  by  the  emigrants 
from  the  south  who  found  their  way  to  the  mines  in  search  of  remuner- 
ative employment.  These  same  persons,  from,  the  southern  portion  of 
the  state,  and  largely  of  the  least  thrifty  class,  gave,  it  was  said,  the 
soubriquet,  "Suckers,"  to  Illinoisans. 

The  calling  of  the  writer  of  these  reminiscences,  that  of  minister  of 
the  gospel,  and  a  home  missionary,  led  him  to  make  frequent  excursions 
into  the  region  round  about  Galena,  extending  as  far  south  upon  the 
Mississippi  Eiver  as  Bock  Island  and  Keokuk,  and  as  far  east  and  south- 
east as  Rockford  and  Dixon.  It  was  a  peculiarly  wild,  and  in  an  early 
day,  lawless  region. 

Notwithstanding  the  fact  that  all  through  the  mining  region,  and 
down  the  Mississippi  river  and  up  through  the  Rock  River  valley,  and 
east  and  south  to  the  Illinois  River  much  lawlessness  prevailed,  I  have 
to  record  with  pleasure  that  I  was  never  molested  nor  insulted — on  the 
other  hand,  my  profession  being  known,  I  was  invariably  treated  with 
respect  and  courtesy.  In  that  early  day  transportation  was  granted  me 
without  charge  on  the  steamboats,  and  entertainment  was  free  to  me  as 
a  clergyman,  both  in  hotels  and  private  residences.  Often  when  I  have 
offered  pay  it  has  been  kindly  but  firmly  refused;  and  this  courteous 
treatment  was  not  confined  to  the  Christian  or  even  the  moral  portion  of 
the  various  communities  visited.  On  a  certain  occasion,  when  on  a  mis- 
sionary tour,  I  saw  a  number  of  men  gathered  around  a  log  cabin  by  the 
roadside  in  a  very  lonely  forest.  I  halted  my  horse  and  spoke  to  them. 
1  told  them  that  I  was  a  minister  of  the  gospel  and  asked  the  privilege 
of  addressing  them  upon  the  subject  of  religion.  They  readily  assented 

—  256  — 


and  politely  asked  me  to  alight.  One  man  took  my  horse,  another 
opened  the  door  and  led  the  way  into  the  cabin.  1  then  discovered  that 
it  was  a  rough  backwoods  drinking  saloon.  The  only  table  in  the  room 
was  covered  with  bottles  filled  with  liquor.  These  were  quickly  removed 
and  placed  on  the  wide  window-sill,  and  th<»  table  became  my  pulpit. 
Dispensing  with  singing  I  opened  my  Bible  and  preached  to  an  attentive 
audience  "of  righteousness,  temperance  and  judgment  to  come."  What 
the«result  was  I  don't  know;  I  only  know  that  rough  men  were  willing  to 
listen  as  the  gospel  was  proclaimed,  and  treated  the  bearer  of  the  divine 
message  with  courtesy  and  kindness. 

The  last  remnant  of  the  aborigines  had  been  removed  from  Illinois 
before  my  arrival  in  the  state,  though  many  who  had  participated  in  the 
conflict  which  preceded  and  accompanied  the  last  serious  outbreak, 
known  as  the  "Black  Hawk  War,"  still  lived,  and  had  many  tales  to  tell 
of  the  struggle  between  the  early  settlers  and  the  red  men.  A  block 
house  for  the  protection  of  the  inhabitants  living  between  Galena  and 
Dixon  had  been  built  on  Apple  River,  near  the  little  mining  town  of 
Elizabeth,  some  fifteen  or  sixteen  miles  south  of  Galena.  The  families 
residing  in  this  region  extending  as  far  west  as  the  Mississippi  river,  and 
as  far  east  as  Freeport  and  south  to  Dixon,  had  been  notified  probably  by 
Shabbona,  an  Indian  always  friendly  to  the  whites,  of  an  intended  out- 
break of  the  savages,  and  many  of  them  had  repaired  to  the  block-house 
near  Elizabeth,  resolved  to  defend  themselves  against  the  foe.  They 
had  not  long  to  wait.  A  marauding  band  of  Indians  surrounded  the  lit- 
tle fort,  and,  protected  by  the  trees  and  dense  shrubbery,  lay  in  wait  to 
pick  off  any  who  might  be  exposed  to  the  deadly  aim  of  their  rifles.  In 
the  meantime  those  in  the  block-house  were  prepared  for  defense.  A 
platform  had  been  built  some  five  or  six  feet  above  the  floor,  and  upon 
this  the  men  were  ranged  ready  to  fire  from  the  port-holes  left  between 
the  logs.  The  women  in  the  meantime,  under  the  leadership  of  "Aunt 
Betty  Armstrong,"  as  she  was  familiarly  called,  a  strong  minded  and 
courageous  woman,  moulded  bullets  and  loaded  the  muskets  of  their  hus- 
bands and  brothers,  determined  to  do  their  part  in  defending  themselves 
and  their  families  from  the  savages.  The  siege  continued  for  many 
hours.  In  the  course  of  the  battle — as  Mrs.  Armstrong  herself  informed 
me— an  Indian  bullet  pierced  the  neck  of  one  of  the  men  upon  the  plat- 
form and  he  fell  among  the  women  below.  "As  he  lay  there,"  to  employ 
Mrs.  Armstrong's  own  words,  "You  never  saw  a  hog  bleed  prettier,"  Mr. 
Harsha,  "than  he  did."  His  jugular  vein  was  cut  as  neatly  as  a  knife  could 
have  done  it,  and  in  a  few  minutes  the  man  was  dead.  One  of  the  other 

—  257  — 


men  on  the  platform  was  so  frightened  at  this  that  he  dropped  his  gun, 
and  was  about  to  abandon  his  post.  Seeing  this,  added  Aunt  Betty, 
"I  pointed  a  gun  at  him  which  I  had  just  loaded,  and  told  him  that  if  he 
did  not  stand  his  ground  there  would  be  another  white  man  lying  dead 
in  less  than  a  minute.  This  settled  it,  and  no  one  else  played  the  coward 
during  the  fight."  Finding  that  they  could  not  take  the  little  fort,  the 
Indians  raised  the  seige  and  quietly  left,  bearing  their  dead  and  wounded 
with  them.  • 

Another  battle  took  place  with  the  Indians  about  this  time,  not  far 
from  Elkhorn  Grove,  which  was  more  disastrous  to  the  whites  than  the 
one  at  the  block-house  on  the  Apple  River.  The  whites,  in  attacking  the 
Indians  who  were  hidden  in  a  thicket,  became  exposed  upon  the  open 
prairie,  and  were  repulsed  with  the  loss  of  several  of  their  number  in 
killed  and  wounded.  An  Indian  pony  from  which  one  of  these  was  shot 
was  kept  until  his  death  at  a  great  age,  by  Col.  Mitchell,  at  Elizabeth. 
The  man  who  was  shot  from  the  pony  was  Col.  Mitchell's  son-in-law,  but 
his  name  has  escaped  me.  These  skirmishes  were  preliminary  to  the 
Black  Hawk  war.  Into  the  details  of  the  Black  Hawk  war  this  narrative 
need  not  enter,  as  the  incidents  of  that  event,  which  ended  for  the  State 
of  Illinois  the  drama  of  Indian  confliets,  have  passed  into  general  his- 
tory. The  following,  however,  in  connection  with  the  now  thriving  city 
of  Dixon,  communicated  to  me  by  Mr.  Dixon  himself,  the  founder  of  the 
town,  may  be  of  interest.  When  the  Black  Hawk  war  broke  out,  General 
Scott,  who  had  charge  of  the  Northwestern  Military  Department,  and 
was  at  Fort  Snelling,  Minnesota,  ordered  the  militia,  which  had  been 
called  out  for  the  defense  of  the  citizens,  to  rendezvous  at  Dixon.  To 
muster  these  volunteers  into  the  .United  States  service,  General  Scott 
sent  two  young  Lieutenants  from  Fort  Snelling  to  Dixon,  while  he  him- 
self with  the  regular  troops  intended  to  descend  the  Mississippi  Eiver, 
and  attack  the  Indians  in  their  principal  village  near  the  junction  of 
Rock  River  with  the  Mississippi.  Mr.  Dixon  kept  the  only  tavern  then 
in  Dixon,  being  a  double  log  cabin,  and  entertained  the  militia  officers, 
as  well  as  the  two  lieutenants  sp.nt  to  muster  them  into  service.  One  of 
these  young  officers  sent  from  Fort  Snelling — as  Mr.  Dixon  afterward  told 
me,  was  a  bright,  sprightly  young  man,  very  talkative,  and  exceedingly 
inquisitive  as  to  the  habits  of  the  Indians,  while  the  other  seemed  very 
quiet,  retiring  and  modest.  The  young  men  were  about  twenty-two  or 
twenty-three  years  of  age.  They  administered  theoath  to  the  volunteers, 
among  whom  was  a  captain  about  their  own  age  who  was  dressed  in  Ken- 
tucky jeans,  hailing  from  Sangamon  county,  Illinois,  and  then  went  on 

—  258^— 


to  join  General  Scott  at  Rock  Island. 

Years  rolled  away  and  the  great  rebellion  was  inaugurated,  when  the 
the  three  young  men  meeting  thus  in  Dixon  during  the  Black  Hawk  war, 
filled  the  most  prominent  positions  in  the  land.  The  Sangamon  county 
captain  was  Abraham  Lincoln;  president  of  the  United  States;  the. 
sprightly  young  lieutenant  was  Jefferson  Davis,  president  of  the  South- 
ern Confederacy,  and  the  modest,  retiring  young  lieutenant,  as  Captain 
Anderson,  was  the  first  to  defend  the  flag  at  Fort  Sumpter,  in  Charleston 
harbor. 

Being  in  New  York  City  shortly  after  the  evacuation  of  Fort  Sumter, 
I  related,  one  evening  at  the  supper  table  of  Mr.  Black,  of  the  firm  of 
Ball,  Black  &  Co.,  the  then  noted  jewelers,  the  above  facts  as  they  had 
been  told  me  by  Mr.  Dixon.  William  Black,  a  son  of  Mr.  Black,  remarked, 
on  hearing  me,  that  Captain,  now  General  Anderson,  was  living  in  the 
city,  and  if  I  wished  he  would  take  me  to  see  him,  as  he  was  acquainted 
with  the  general,  and  we  could  ascertain  whether  he  would  confirm  Mr. 
Dixon's  statement.  Gladly  assenting  to  Mr.  Black's  proposal  I  fixed  upon 
the  next  evening  to  make  a  call. 

During  the  afternoon  of  the  next  day  I  was  in  the  book  store  of  Rob- 
ert Carter  &  Bros.,  530  Broadway,  and  related  to  Robert  Carter  the  facts 
as  above  given,  touching  Lincoln,  Davis  and  Anderson,  and  told  him  that 
I  expected  to  call  on  General  Anderson  that  evening  for  a  confirmation 
of  Mr.  Dixon's  statement.  Just  as  I  had  finished  my  remarks  to  Mr. 
Carter,  a  gentleman,  who  had  been  standing  with  his  back  to  us  looking 
over  the  books  upon  the  shelves,  turned  suddenly,  and  stepping  up  to  us, 
said:  "That  is  so,  sir,  for  I  was  there  myself."  Upon  this,  Mr.  Carter 
introduced  me  to  the  gentleman,  saying,  "Rev.  Dr.  Gallagher,  Mr.  Harsha.' 
Dr.  Gallagher  then  proceeded.  "Yes,"  he  said,  "I  was  chaplain  at  Fort 
Snelling  at  the  time,  and  was  sent  by  General  Scott  with  Davis  and 
Anderson  to  Dixon,  and  when  they  had  mustered  the  troops  there  into 
the  service  of  the  United  States,  we  went  on  to  meet  General  Scott  at 
Rock  Island,  and  1  well  remember  the  difficulties  we  encountered  in  find- 
ing our  way  across  the  then  trackless  prairies."  Dr.  Gallagher  was  a 
Presbyterian  clergyman,  and  at  the  time  of  this  interview,  was  the  flnan 
cial  agent  of  the  Union  Theological  Seminary  in  New  York  City.  The 
testimony  was  no  less  unexpected  than  gratifying. 

According  to  the  appointment  I  went  that  evening  and  called  upon 
General  Anderson.  When  I  told  him  the  object  of  my  visit,  and  had 
asked  him  for  his  recollection  of  what  had  occurred  at  Dixon,  he  fully 
confirmed  Mr.  Dixon's  statement,  and  added:  "After  the  fall  of  Fort 

—  259  — 


Sumpter,  my  nervous  system  was  completely  broken  down,  and  Mr. 
Lincoln  invited  me  to  visit  him  in  Washington.  I  had  not  met  him  after 
our  meeting  at  Dixon,  until  my  visit  to  him  at  ulie  White  House.  There 
Mr.  Lincoln  reminded  me  of  the  Black  Hawk  days,  and  said  to  me,  in  his 
kindly,  familiar  manner:  "Anderson,  you  and  Davis  administered  to  rne 
at  Dixon  the  first  oath  I  ever  took  to  defend  the  Constitution  of  the 
United  States."  General  Anderson  inquired  whether  Mr.  Dixon  were 
still  alive,  and  when  answered  in  the  affirmative,  said:  "Please  remem- 
ber me  to  him,  and  say,  if  we  never  meet  on  earth,  I  hope  to  meet  him  in 
heaven." 

But  the  flight  of  time  has  brought  to  all  our  land  marvelous  changes. 
The  beautiful  prairies  of  those  early  days,  have  been  turned  under  by  the 
thrifty  settler's  plow,  and  where  the  wild  rose,  the  aster,  the  golden  rod, 
the  buttercup  and  the  daisy  once  nodded  in  the  breeze,  the  corn  raises 
its  stately  head,  and  the  waving  wheat  fields  bespeak  the  coming  harvest. 
Neither  forts  nor  block-houses  dot  the  landscape  to  tell  of  defense  from 
the  Indian  rifle  and  scalping  knife.  Thirfty  towns,  and  villages,  and 
cities;  stately  homes  proclaiming  wealth  and  luxury,  have  taken  the 
place  of  the  squatter's  humble  cabin.  The  hardy  pioneers,  who  "bore 
the  burden  and  heat"  of  those  early  days,  are  passed  away,  and  their 
children  and  children's  children  enjoy  the  fruits  of  their  thoughtful  toil. 
The  great  rebellion  has  come  and  gone.  Lincoln  and  Davis,  and  Ander- 
son, nearly  all  who  bore  a  part  in  that  great  struggle,  have  passed  into 
the  eternal  world.  The  few  survivors  of  those  pioneer  days,  white  haired 
and  feeble  now,  await  the  summons  which  shall  call  them  into  the  land 
immortal.  W.  W.  HABSHA. 

o 


Dix0T21«.   Fir^t  Temperance  Pte3gje. 


The  sun  that  shines  so  brightly  down 
This  day,  upon  our  pleasant  town. 
Some  sixty  years  ago  had  seen 
The  first  white  settler  on  our  green; 
"Nachusa,"  as  the  Indians  said, 
Or,  "man  with  white  hair  on  his  head," 
Then  stood  upon  our  river's  banks, 
First  pioneer  among  the  ranks 
Of  those  who  to  Kock  Valley  came, 
To  make  themselves  a  Western  name. 

Bock  River  courses  in  beauty  there 
Around  its  lovely  Islands  rare. 
Although  no  bridge  its  breadth  did  span; 
The  daily  sun  in  splendor  died. 
To  rise  again  in  all  its  pride, 
But  only  shone  on  prairie  land 
Untilled  by  any  white  man's  hand; 
The  Winnebago  Indians  stood 
Possessed  of  Dixon's  plains  and  woods, 
Although  this  country  had  been  sold 
To  Government  for  trade  and  gold. 

Thus,  scarcely  had  the  white  man  come. 

To  find  a  cabin  roof  his  home, 

When  an  old  Chief  and  part  his  band, 

Around  Nachusa's  hearth  did  stand. 

And  queried,  in  the  red  man's  way, 

If  he  "had  come  to  go  or  stay?" 

Owanica,  his  Indian  name; 

Old  Jarro,  to  our  men,  the  same; 

He,  the  Pottawatomie  language  knew, 

And,  as  Nachusa  spoke  it  too. 

They  talked,  and  Jarro's  men  stood  still, 

While  he  interpreted  at  will; 

And  for  their  questioning  glances,  sought 

The  whiskey  which  the  white  man  brought. 

—  263  — 


Nachusa  sternly  shook  his  head, 
"No  whiskey  had  he  brought,"  he  said; 
"And  would  not  buy  or  keep  it  there?" 
Old  Jarro  asked,  wnile  scowled  his  men, 
"If  he  would  get  some  they'd  be  glad, 
It  not — 'twas  bad— 'twas  very  bad." 

Nachusa  saw— and  quickly  then, 

He  took  to  Jarro  and  his  men 

Both  flour  and  corn,  and  many  things 

Which  only  white  to  red  man  brings; 

And  as  the  lowering  brows  gave  way, 

He  bade  them  call  another  day; 

And  this  on  every  day  was  done, 

Until  old  Jarro  called  alone; 

With  such  good  food,  his  appetite 

Was  scarce  appeased  from  morn  'till  night; 

And  always  did  the  white  man  tell 
Of  whiskey,  and  its  curse  as  well, 
Persuading  him  each  day  and  hour, 
To  free  him  from  its  evil  power; 
And  so  the  Chief  proclaimed  that  he 
Was  temperate,  in  Thirty-Three— 
Declaring  that  himself  and  men, 
Should  never  be  found  drunk  again; 
And  this  a  "Temperance  Pledge"  became. 
Before  this  town  was  built  or  named. 

Some  time  had  passed  when  Jarro  went 
To  make  a  grieved  and  sad  lament; 
"Two  warriors  at  Galena  bought 
The  whiskey  which  the  Indians  sought. 
And  on  the  island,  near  the  dam, 
Were  many  drinking,  and  he  ran 
To  tell  their  names— Nachusa  must 
Treat  them  with  scorn  and  so  be  just." 

Two  days'  and  nights'  carousal  high. 

And  then  the  leading  man  drew  nigh. 

Holding  his  hand  in  friendly  token, 

As  though  no  temperance  pledge  was  broken, 

Amazement  in  his  face  to  trace 

The  anger  in  Nachusa's  face, 

As,  with  arms  crossed  upon  his  breast. 

Nachusa  stood  in  Quiet  rest, 

Or  backward  drew,  as  the  red  man 

His  questioning  dialogue  began. 

—  264  — 


"Why  was  he  angry  V   it  was  not  he 
Who  any  wrong  had  done— nor  he"—  I 
"Stop"  said  Nachusa,  do  not  lie, 
I  know  the  reasons  all,  and  why"; 
And  beckoning  him  away,  told  cause 
Of  all  his  anger— bade  him  pause, 
"He  would  not  see  nor  speak  to  him 
Without  severest  reckoning; 
For  he  was  mad— was  very  mad— 
If  red  man  drank  would  not  be  glad." 

The  warrior  stopped  and  looking  sad 
Inquired  "how  long  he  would  be  mad?" 
"Until  next  moon?  that  was  too  long;" 
But  fixedly  was  the  white  man  strong, 
And  sternly  bade  him  give  it  up, 
The  fatal,  poisonous,  whiskey  cup, 
"Or  cling  to  drink  and  never  more 
Seek  out  his  face  or  pass  his  door." 
Bock  River's  waters,  coldly  blue,£ 
Beheld  the  stormy  interview. 

Eleven  days  after,  in  the  light 
That  shuts  out  day  and  takes  in  night. 
Just  as  the  full  moon's  silvery  sheen 
Was  trailing  o'er  the  prairies  green. 
The  Indian  in  the  gloaming  stood, 
With  hands  held  out  in  gracious  mood; 
Nachusa  to  the  erring  ran— 
Made  happy  signs  of  friendly  man, 
And  thus  the  second  pledge  was  made, 
Which  lasted  while  old  Jarro  stayed. 

Nachusa  told  inquirers  then, 
He  lived  before  the  "Old  Wolfs  Den." 
Across  the  waters  dark  and  blue, 
For  thus  they  all  the  country  knew; 
The  Old  Wolf's  Den,  on  North  Side  bluff, 
Where,  though  the  climbing  may  be  rough, 
The  earliest  and  sweetest  flowers  grow, 
From  which  our  stranger  friends  are  shownl 
The  town  and  finest  elm  tree  known. 

Nachusa  smoked  the  pipe  of  peace 
Though  not  from  Indian  theft  released; 
So,  with  the  tribe,  when  payment  came 
For  these  same  lands,  he  went  to  claim 
The  specie  for  a  missing  cow— 

—  265  — 


And  horse  that  wandered  (none  knew  how) 
To  Winnebago  Fort,  where  Captain  Lowe 
With  kindly  inquiries  pressed  him  so, 
Nachusa  told  of  Jarro's  weal. 
And  of  his  temperance  work  and  zeal. 

The  Captain  laughed,  sarcastic  peals 
Which  tells  the  hearer  what  one  feels; 
Recalling  all  the  friendly  aid 
To  ragged,  drinking  Jarro  made, 
Declared  that  "he  knew  Indians  well, 
And  so  could  for  a  surety  tell, 
That  Jarro,  if  a  chance  he  got. 
Would  prove  the  most  degraded  sot;" 

And  turning  tothe  sutler's  store ; 
Beckoned  the  chief  within  the  door, 
And  in  a  pleasant,  friendly  way 
Asked  him  some  questions  as  he  stayed; 
The  while  he  filled  a  large  tin  cup. 
And  said  the  Chief  should  take  a  sup. 

Old  Jarro  thanked  him  kindly  then, 
But  said  he  "feared  the  great  white  man, 
And  so  would  take  the  whiskey  out 
And  watch  his  chance,  for  thereabouts, 
(The  Captain  he  would  understand) 
Nachusa  stood  with  threatening  hand." 

The  Captain  for  the  Fort  had  left. 
When  Jarro  to  Nachusa  crept. 
And  telling  all  the  doubtful  story. 
With  Indian  haughtiness  and  glory, 
Led  him  some  distance  in  the  wood, 
When  the  tin  cup  as  well  filled  stood 
As  he  could  bear  it  in  his  hand, 
The  proudest  chief  in  all  the  land, 
To  prove  the  tempter  was  mistaken; 
The  chieftan's  pledge  was  not  forsaken. 

Old  Jarro  raised  himself  upright 
And  poised  the  cup  in  Dixon's  sight, 
Then  turning  on; his  heel,  half  'round, 
He  poured  the  contents  on  the  ground, 
And  with  the  noble  thought  and  deed. 
The  red  man  of  the  forest  said, 
"Owanica  had  promised  well! 
And  you,  Nachusa,  now  can  tell 
That  not  a  drop  of  cursed  fire 
Has  passed  his  lips — he  was  no  liar." 

—  266  — 


For  Winnebago  lives  in  name ; 
The  Winnebagoes— who  can  tell 
If  any  feel  the  temperance  spell? 
Kock  River,  bridged  by  many  a  span. 
And  subject  to  the  works  of  man, 
Still  sees  Nachusa's  snow  white  head, 
And  flows  beneath  his  measured  tread, 
And  hears,  with  many  an  old  time  tale, 
Of  the  Temperance  Pledge  that  did  not  fail. 
H.  E.  UNDKBWOOD. 


NOTES  FROM  MR.  DIXON. 

The  full  moon  was  the  Indians  time  of  reckoning.  When  the  Central 
railroad  was  built  in  Dixon  they  cut  away  the  old  wolf's  den  for  the  north 
end  of  the  railroad  bridge.  It  used  to  be  a  large  cave,  and  beyond  the 
portion  you  could  enter,  a  narrow  passage  led  to  the  den — the  resort  for 
many  wolves.  Winnebago  Fort  was  on  the  peninsula  between  the  Fox 
and  Wisconsin  rivers  and  about  a  mile  from  either. 


ONE  OF"  the  most  remarkable  of  the  many  noble  women  among  the 
early  settlers  who  made  their  homes  in  the  Rock  River  valley  was 
Mrs.  Rebecca  Dixon. 

Born  at  Peekskill,  New  York,  and  reared  near  New  York  City,  of  re- 
fined and  cultured  parentage,  with  a  broad  mind,  well  educated,  she  with 
her  husband,  early  became  possessed  of  a  desire  to  go  west  and  cast  in 
their  lot  with  the  pioneers  of  a  new  and  almost  unknown  country.  They 
came  first  to  Sangamon  county,  near  Springfield,  but  afterwards  moved 
t<>  Peoria,  Illinois,  he  having  been  appointed  Clerk  of  the  Circuit  Court 
of  Peoria  county,  and  after  remaining  for  four  years,  Mr.  Dixon  having 
contracted  for  carrying  the  mail  from  Peoria  to  Galena,  arid  being  obliged 
to  cross  Rock  River,  became  enamoured  of  the  Rock  River  country,  and 
soon  purchased  the  ferry  across  Rock  River  at  what  is  now  Dixon.  Here 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  Dixon  moved,  and  he  established  his  claims  to  the  territory 
covered  by  Dixon  and  its  surroundings  Here  Mr.  Dixon  might  be  said 
to  be  "monarch  of  all  he  surveyed."  His  was  the  only  white  family  on 
Rock  River,  and  Mrs.  Dixon  the  only  white  woman  between  Peoria  and 
Galena,  and  her  only  neighbors  were  the  red  men  of  the  forest. 

By  her  kind,  gentle,  yet  firm  and  Christian  deportmentshe  soorvgained 
the  confidence  and  esteem  of  her  neighbors  and -ever  retained  it.  The 
door  of  her  log  cabin  was  never  barred,  and  the  latch  string  was  never 
drawn  in  niyht  or  day.  "The  latchstririg  was  always  out."  "Nachusa," 
(the  white  haired)  as  the  Indians  called  Mr.  Dixon,  was  always  the  recog- 
nized friend  of  the  red  man,  and  they  consulted  him  in  all  their  difficul- 
ties; and  when  any  of  them  incurred  his  displeasure  the  culprit  came  to 
Mrs.  Dixon  at  the  first  opportunity,  saying,  "Nachusa  mad,  me  'fraid 
Nachusa,"  and  begged  her  to  intercede  for  him  and  persuade  Nachusa  to 
turn  away  his  anger.  The  Indians  had  a  wholesome  fear  of  Nachusa, 
and  dreaded  his  anger.  Old  Shabbona,  chief  of  the  Winnebago  tribe, 
was,  for  years  after  the  Indians  left  this  region,  an  annual  visitor  at  Mr. 
Dixon's,  where  he  spent  days  in  smoking  and  chatting  with  "Nachusa." 

—  268  — 


The  Indians  respected  and  revered  Mrs.  Dixon,  and  were  always  ready 
to  do  her  bidding,  and  were  completely  under  her  control. 

Here  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Dixon  endured  patiently  and  cheerfully  all  t'i<1 
privations  and  inconviences  incident  to  a  new  country,  among  which  the 
loss  of  intelligent  and  refined  society,  the  complete  isolation,  the  lack  of 
the  comforts  and  luxuries  of  a  well  appointed  home  were  not  the  least. 
Yet  she  never  laid  aside  her  dignity,  her  queenllness  of  deportment,  her 
refinement,  her  self-respect,  her  perfect  womanliness.  No  man,  however 
low  his  instinct,  could  be  in  her  presence  a  moment  without  feeling 
awed  and  subdued  by  her  queenly  dignity  and  perfectly  ladylike  presence. 
Though  a  frail,  slight  woman,  probably  never  weighing  more  than  ninety 
pounds,  and  never  in  robust  health,  she  neither  feared  or  failed  to  adhere 
to  her  strict  temperence  principles  in  the  presence  of  the  roughest 
traveler  who  asked  shelter  in  her  home.  If  he  attempted  to  bring  liquor 
into  the  house,  she  took  it  from  him,  saying  simply:  "This  is  forbid  i-  n 
here,  "or,  "We  cannot  have  this,"  and  poured  it  on  the  ground. 

Dr.  Oliver  Everett,  who  was  always  their  family  physician,  has  many 
times  said  in  the  hearing  of  the  writer,  "She  was  a  wonderful  woman 
and  I  count  it  one  of  the  greatest  blessings  and  privileges  of  my  life  that 
I  was  permitted  to  enjoy  the  society  and  friendship  of  Mrs.  Dixon.  Rev. 
Thomas  Powell,  who  was  a  member  of  the  Sunday  school  in  New  York 
City,  of  which  Mr.  Dixon  was  superintendent  before  coming  to  Illinois, 
expressed  himself  in  like  manner,  and  said  she  was  a  wonderful  woman, 
and  that  he  counted  it  a  great  privilege  to  have  been  permitted  to  sit  at 
her  feet  and  be  a  learner.  Rev.  Mr.  Powell  was  for  many  years  a  mis- 
sionary of  the  American  Baptist  Missionary  Union  and  has  many  times 
preached  in  Dixon.  Mrs.  Dixon  was  at  home  in  the  governor's  mansion, 
and  also  in  the  homes  of  the  poor.  Mr.  Dixon  being  on  the  Board  of 
Public  Works,  was  frequently  called  to  the  capital  of  our  state  on  busi- 
ness and  was  accompanied  at  times  by  Mrs.  Dixon.  She  was  always  re- 
ceived by  the  officials  with  due  respect  and  with  the  unaffected  greeting 
due  to  a  heartily  welcomed  and  highly  esteemed  guest. 

Everyone  honored  and  respected  her,  and  when  the  community  was 
solicited  by  her  for  aid  in  the  care  of  the  sick  or  for  the  relief  of  the  poor 
and  destitute,  everyone  was  ready  to  respond  cheerfully  to  her  request. 

She  was  an  exceedingly  interesting  conversationalist  a  keen  observer, 
and  intelligent  upon  almost  any  subject,  and  very  kind  and  sociable  with 
the  children  and  youth,  for  whom  she  always  had  a  word  of  encourage- 
ment. 

But  the  crowning  glory  of  Mrs.  Dixon's  character  was  her  deep,  fervent, 

—  269  — 


unaffected  piety.    No  one  could  speak  disrespectfully  of  Our  Savior  or  His 
cause  in  her  presence. 

"Whose  I  am  and  whom  I  serve,"  was  what  she  had  to  say  of  Christ; 
and  she  lived  it  out.  Her  influence  was  most  salutary.  In  her  own  home 
she  conducted  family  worship,  Mrs.  Dixon  being  a  silent  worshipper. 

It  is  a  remarkable  fact  that  during  the  time  they  resided  on  the  farm 
west  of  Dixon,  now  owned  by  the  Dr.  Everett  estate,  every  farm  hand 
who  resided  with  them  was  converted  and  gave  himself  to  the  Saviour. 

Mrs.  Dixon  was  the  mother  of  twelve  children,  all  of  whom,  except 
three,  she  outlived.  One  by  one  they  were  taken  from  her  to  the  Father's 
home  on  high.  Yet  she  never  lost  her  faith,  nor  murmered  or  complain- 
ed. By  God's  grace  she  was  able  to  say,  "the  Lord  gave  and  the  Lord  has 
taken  away;  blessed  be  the  name  of  the  Lord." 

Sickness  and  her  great  afflictions  so  undermined  her  health  that  she 
was  obliged  to  retire  from  active  service  and  "be  laid  aside."  On  the 
ninth  day  of  February,  1847.  she  died  at  the  age  of  fifty-eight  years,  in 
the  full  triumphs  of  faith,  and  in  the  hope  of  blessed  resurrection. 

Dixon  has  been  blessed  in  the  lives  of  many  other  noble  women,  among 
whom  were  Mrs.  John  Richards,  Mrs.  Keizia  Law,  Mrs.  Thummell, 
Mrs.  Dr.  Gardner,  Mrs.  Erastus  DeWolf,  Mrs.  Harvey  Morgan  and  many 
others,  of  whom  their  pastors  could  well  say,  "those  women  who  labored 
with  me  in  the  gospel,"  as  Paul  said  of  the  Phillipian  women.  All  these 
died  in  the  faith  and  left  behind  them  precious  memories.  Would  that 
some  abler  pen  than  mine  might  write  fitting  sketches  of  their  lives. 

I  have  written  what  I  have,  that  the  memory  of  the  virtues  which 
shone  more  conspicuously  in  the  life  of  Mrs.  Dixon  might  not  be  over- 
shadowed and  lost  sight  of  in  this  fast  age  in  which  we  are  living. 

MB.  AND  MRS.  J.  T.  LITTLE. 


Tfie    Pioneer    Womerc    o     Dixon. 


THE  following  brief  notes  concerning  some  of  the  pioneer  women  of 
Dixon  who  came  here  prior  to  1840  (with  incidental  mention  of  some 
of  the  pioneer  men  not  elsewhere  noticed  in  this  volume)  are  not 
in  the  nature  of  personal  recollections  of  the  writer.  But  as  one  of  the 
youngest  of  the  second  generation  of  the  very  early  settlers  in  this  com- 
munity, she  has  enjoyed  the  advantage  of  the  family  narratives  of  those 
far-fled  days.  In  addition  to  this,  the  notes  here  presented  are  largely 
the  reported  recollections  of  the  oldest  settler  of  Dixon  now  residing  in 
this  city,  whose  memory  reproduces  with  singular  fidelity  many  scenes 
from  that  pioneer  life  since  first,  in  1836,  as  a  girl  of  13,  she  saw  the 
waters  of  the  beautiful  Rock  River,  by  whose  side  she  has  now  lived  for 
titty-seven  years.  The  simple  story  of  her  early  experiences  at  Dixon's 
Ferry  will  serve  as  a  natural  nucleus  about  which  to  group  the  few  rem- 
iuiscenses  herein  narrated. 

Her  parents,  John  and  Ann  Richards,  were  English  settlers  at  To- 
ronto, Canada.  Being  possessed  of  some  means,  and  being  further 
deceived  by  the  alluring  reports  that  reached  them  of  the  opportunities 
and  advancement  of  the  great  west,  they  resolved  to  remove  thither. 
Accordingly  Mr.  Richards  and  his  family  voyaged  by  the  Great  Lakes 
from  Buffalo  to  Chicago,  and  then,  after  a  brief  stay  at  Chicago,  which 
gave  no  promise  of  the  greatness  and  magnificence  which  now  make  it  a 
titting  place  for  the  display  of  four  centuries  of  the  triumphs  of  the  new 
world,  our  travelers  se't  forth  for  Dixon,  their  objective  point,  whose 
natural  beauty  was  already  far  famed.  Their  trip  was  accomplished  in 
four  days  and  a  half,  in  the  customary  prairie  schooners— the  Pullman 
sleeping  cars  of  those  more  leisurely  days.  Upon  arriving  at  Dixon's 
Ferry  Sept.  1,  1836,  Mrs.  Richards  asked  why  the  wagons  stopped,  and 
upon  being  told  they  were  at  their  destination  said,  "But  where's  the 
town-"'  Perhaps  the  surprise  was  justified,  for  there  were  then,  count- 
ing every  sort  of  structure,  but  eleven  buildings  in  all.  Two  of  these 
were  general  stores,  so  that,  considering  all  things,  the  ladies  of  those 

—  271  — 


days  could  not  complain  that  their  shopping  privileges  were  abridged,  or 
that  there  was  any  monopoly  in  the  sale  of  "the  latest." 

One  of  these  stores,  that  of  Messrs.  Hamilton  &  Covell,  was  kept  in 
the  old  log  house  of  Father  Dixon,  at  the  corner  of  First  street  and 
Peoria  avenue.  The  rival  store  stood  on  the  north  bank  of  the  river 
near  what  is  now  the  end  of  the  railroad  bridge,  and  was  conducted  by 
Mr.  Geo.  A.  Martin. 

But,  to  increase  the  misery  of  the  situation  for  Mrs.  Richards,  her 
baby,  eighteen  months  old,  had  been  taken  ill  on  the  way  from  Chicago, 
and  just  one  week  after  reaching  Dixon  died.  No  coffin  could  be  procured 
at  that  early  day,  and  the  best  that  could  be  done  was  to  get  Mr.  Tal- 
mage,  a  carpenter  from  Buffalo,  to  saw  boards  for  one  and  cover  it  with 
cloth.  While  Mr.  Talmage  was  thus  employed  Dr.  Everett  first  entered 
Dixon  after  his  visit  to  Princeton.  The  grave  of  this  baby  was  the  third 
in  Oak  wood  Cemetery.  Singularly  enough  these  first  three  graves  were 
made  during  the  same  week.  The  first  person  buried  in  Dixon  was  a 
Mr.  Lefferty,  who  had  died  from  an  illness  consequent  upon  his  swim- 
ming across  Leaf  River;  the  second  was  a  Mr.  Manning. 

As  soon  as  possible  Mr.  Richards  built  himself  a  frame  house  on  his 
farm  on  the  river  three  miles  north  of  Dixon,  and  immediately  above 
Hazelwood,  which  had  not  as  yet  been  built  upon  by  Gov.  Charter.  A 
part  of  the  lumber  for  Mr.  Richard's  house  was  hauled  from  Freeport. 
Only  the  ruined  cellar  wall  now  remains  to  show  the  location  of  this  early 
home.  Here — in  1837— Gov.  Ford  spent  several  days  on  his  way  from 
Vandalia,  then  capital  of  the  state,  being  delayed  from  proceeding  by 
the  swollen  condition  of  the  Seven  Mile  Branch.  In  order  to  obtain 
water  more  conveniently,  Mr.  Richards  soon  moved  across  the  river  and 
located  on  the  Grand  Detour  road,  when  he  became  the  nearest  neighbor 
of  the  late  Joseph  Crawford. 

At  the  home  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Richards,  who  were  earnest  Christians 
and  members  of  the  first  Methodist  class  organized  in  Dixon  (1837),  the 
warmest  hospitality  was  always  extended,  and  many  were  the  Methodist 
ministers,  on  their  way  to  the  then  famous  school  at  Mt.  Morris,  who 
shared  their  entertainment. 

Mr.  Richards  died  June,  1852,  leaving  his  wife  and  five  children  sur- 
viving. At  this  time  his  two  sons,  James  and  William,  were  absent  in 
California,  and  one  week  before  his  death  his  daughter  Mary  had  been 
married  to  Thaddeus  D.  Boardman.  His  wife,  who  removed  the  same 
year  to  Dixon  and  there  died  in  1877,  long  before  her  death  had  been 
familiarly  and  lovingly  known  as  "Mother  Richards." 

—  272  — 


During  her  declining  years  she  was  tenderly  cared  for  by  her  oldest 
daughter,  Sarah,  who  remained  unmarried,  and  who  also  devoted  herself 
unselfishly  to  the  care  of  the  motherless  children  of  her  twosisters.  Miss 
Richards  now  resides  with  the  writer,  her  youngest  niece,  and,  as  above 
stated,  is  the  oldest  settler  of  Dixon  now  living  here. 

Upon  Mr.  Richard's  coming  to  Dixon,  he  found  but  ten  families,  those 
of  Father  Dixon,  James  Dixon,  E.  W.  Covell,  Saml.  McClure,  Caleb  Tal- 
mage,  Geo.  A.  Martin,  J.  W.  Hamilton,  James  B.  Barr,  E.  W.  Hines  and 
Alexander  Irvine.  The  latter  gentleman  had  previously  been  one  of  Mr. 
Richards'  pastors  at  Toronto,  though  he  never  joined  an  Illinois  Confer- 
ence. His  daughter  was  engaged  to  be  married  to  the  Mr.  Lefferty, 
whose  sad  death  has  been  spoken  of  above  as  the  first  at  Dixon's  Ferry. 

An  eloquent  tribute  to  Mother  Dixon  is  elsewhere  paid  in  this  volume 
and  but  little  need  be  added  here.  A  custom  of  her's,  whose  influence 
upon  the  frontier  life  of  the  little  settlement  can  never  be  measured,  was 
that  of  opening  her  house  for  preaching  services  whenever  a  minister 
happened  to  be  in  the  community.  That  none  might  miss  the  then  rare 
'  privilege  of  hearing  a  sermon,  she  sent  her  conveyance  throughout  the 
settlement'and  the  surrounding  country  to  bring  the  people  to  her  home 
then  located  near  the  present  site  of  the  C.  &  N.  W.  depot.  This  she 
continued  to  do  until  1837,  when  a  school  house  was  built  just  west  of  the 
cemetery.  Worship  was  then  conducted  in  this  school  house,  which  sub- 
sequently "wandered"  down  to  Ottawa  street,  and  from  thence  to  Main 
street  at  about  the  site  of  Austin  Bros.'  store,  where  it  "evolved  into  a 
grocery  and  saloon  and  was  finally  burned  in  1859. 

Previous  to  the  building  of  this  school  house  Mother  Dixon's  house 
had  been  used  for  the  first  school  also,  and  but  for  her  efforts  the  school 
house  might  never  have  been  built.  The  men  of  Dixon  had  started  a 
subscription  to  raise  money  for  a  school  house,  but  gave  up  in  despair 
before  a  sufficient  sum  had  been  subscribed.  With  energy  and  determi- 
nation which  must  have  put  to  shame  the  easily  discouraged  men, 
Mother  Dixon  took  up  the  work  and  accomplished  it.  To  her  belongs  the 
credit  of  getting  built  not  only  this  school  house,  but  also  the  first  Bap- 
tist Church  in  Dixon.  To  raise  the  funds  to  build  the  church  she  went 
with  her  own  horse  and  buggy  from  Dixon  to  Galena,  collecting  the 
money  along  the  way. 

Mrs.  James  P.  Dixon  was  formerly  Miss  Fannie  Reed  of  Buffalo 
Grove.  She  was  married  to  Mother  Dixon's  oldest  son  in  1834  and  lived 
on  Main  street  about  half  a  block  east  of  Galena.  There-  June  30th, 
1836— the  first  white  baby  in  Dixon  was  born,  and  little  Henrietta  Dixon, 

—  273  — 


we  may  be  sure,  was  an  object  of  great  interest  to  the  entire  community, 
for  all  hastened  to  pay  their  respects  to  the  little  pioneer.  She  was  mar- 
ried in  1860  to  William  H.  Richards  and  now  resides  at  Moline,  111.  Her 
mother,  the  oldest  settler  of  Dixon  now  living,  spends  a  portion  of  her 
time  at  Moline,  and  the  remainder  in  Dixon  with  her  son  Hon.  Sherwood 
Dixon,  and  her  daughter,  Mrs.  Wrn.  Barge. 

The  families  of  Mr.  Covell  and  Mr.  Irvine  removed  from  Dixon  as 
early  as  1837. 

In  May  of  1837  Samuel  M.  Bowman,  a  cousin  of  Senior  Bishop  Thomas 
Bowman  of  the  M.  E.  Church,  came  from  Pennsylvania  with  his  gifted 
and  beautiful  young  wife.  Mr.  Bowman  and  his  wife's  brother,  Isaac  S. 
Boardman,  who  came  west  with  them,  opened  at  the  corner  of  Galena 
and  Water  street  the  first  dry  goods  store  in  Dixon,  which  was  then  the 
best  between  Chicago  and  Galena.  Their  goods  were  brought  from  Phil- 
adelphia and  Pittsburgh  by  way  of  the  Ohio  and  Mississippi  Rivers  as 
far  as  Fulton  or  Savanna  and  from  thence  by  wagon  overland,  or  by  flat- 
boat  up  the  Rock  River  to  Dixon. 

Mrs.  Bowman  was  at  this  time  only  nineteen  years  old.  She  had  been 
carefully  educated  at  Cazenovia  Seminary,  New  York,  and  was  by  nature 
and  training  well  fitted  for  the  exacting  social  position  she  was  in  later 
years  called  upon  to  fill.  Although  most  tenderly  nurtured,  she  entered 
upon  her  pioneer  life  with  the  courage,  common  sense  and  energy  which 
ever  characterized  her.  At  first  she  lived  in  a  part  of  the  building  occu- 
pied by  her  husband  as  a  store.  Subsequently  Mr.  Bowman  built  the 
residence  now  owned  by  Mr.  Asa  Judd,  and  known  as  "Maple  Hill"  from 
the  beautiful  trees  then  planted  by  Mr.  Bowman. 

Mrs.  Bowman,  although  always  a  Presbyterian,  became  a  member  of 
the  first  Methodist  ctass  organized  in  Dixon,  in  1837,  of  which  her  hus- 
band was  the  leader. 

Mr.  Bowman  during  his  stay  in  Dixon  was  a  frequent  contributor  to 
various  magazines,  and  gave  evidences  of  a  literary  talent  which  was 
afterwards  utilized  in  a  work  on  European  travels  and  also  as  the  chosen 
historian  of  the  campaign  of  his  friend  and  neighbor  of  many  years,  Gen. 
Wm.  T.  Sherman. 

Being  unsuccessful  as  a  merchant,  Mr.  Bowman  studied  law  and  was 
admitted  to  the  bar  in  1843.  Meanwhile  he  took  a  contract  for  and 
erected  the  present  Court  House  at  Dixon.  He  then  removed  to  St.  Louis 
and  engaged  in  the  practice  of  law  there,  at  San  Francisco,  Baltimore 
and  Kansas  City.  During  the  war  he  attained  to  the  high  rank  of  brevet 
Major  General. 

—  274  — 


Mrs.  Bowman  spent  much  time  in  Europe  for  her  health,  and  traveled 
there  for  a  considerable  time  with  her  friend,  Mrs.  Gen.  Lew  Wallace, 
wife  of  the  gifted  author  of  "Ben  Hur."  She  died  at  Kansas  City  in  1885, 
having  survived  her  husband  just  ten  weeks.  Gen.  Sherman  pronounced 
the  closing  eulogy  over  the  remains  of  Gen.  Bowman,  his  friend  and 
companion  of  thirty-five  years. 

Isaac  Boardman,  who  was  for  many  years  county  clerk,  circuit  clerk, 
and  editor  of  the  Dixon  Telegraph,  was  married  to  Father  Dixon's 
daughter  Mary  in  1841,  who  died  ten  years  later.  Mr.  Boardman  died  in 
1885. 

In  1839  came  Thaddeus  D.  Boardman  aud  Rev.  W.  E.  Boardman,  the 
brothers  of'Mrs.  Bowman  and  Isaac  Boardman, 

Thaddeus  D.  Boardman,  as  has  been  said,  was  married  to  Mary, 
daughter  of  John  Richards.  They  built  and  occupied  the  old  stone 
house  recently  demolished  by  Mr.  J.  V.  Thomas.  After  the  death,  in 
1862,  of  his  first  wife,  Mr.  Boardman  was  married  to  her  sister  Jane,  the 
mother  of  the  writer,  who  in  1872,  in  her  infancy,  was  deprived  by  death 
of  that  mother's  care. 

Mr.  Boardman  will  be  remembered  by  many  with  respect  for  his  sin- 
cere Christian  life  and  for  the  constant  warfare  he  carried  on  against 
intemperance  and  other  evils,  while  his  simple  trust  in  the  honesty  of 
human  nature  caused  him  to  be  often  imposed  upon  by  those  on  whom 
he  relied,  to  his  serious  financial  loss.  His  death  occurred  at  Chicago  in 
1886. 

Rev.  W.  E.  Boardman  and  wife  resided  in  Dixon  less  than  a  year. 
During  the  war  he  was  secretary  of  the  great  Christian  Commission,  and 
afterwards  became  a  leading  Presbyterian  divine  and  evangelist,  both  in 
America  and  Europe.  His  later  years  were  spent  in  London,  where  his 
wife  now  resides.  Rev.  Boardman  and  wife  are  best  known  as  the  authors 
of  a  number  of  widely  read  religious  works. 

Mr.  and  Mrs.  Caleb  Talmage  lived  on  what  is  now  the  R.  B.  Fargo 
farm,  and  were  also  members  of  the  first  Methodist  class.  Mrs.  Talmage 
was  from  Buffalo,  and  is  remembered  as  a  quiet  woman  of  strong  domes- 
tic tastes.  She  was  a  cousin  of  Bishop  Chase,  first  Episcopal  Bishop  of 
this  diocese.  After  Mr.  Tal mage's  death  she  was  married  to  a  Col.  Stev- 
enson, a  near  relative  of  Vice-President  A.E.Stevenson.  Her  death 
occurred  a  few  years  ago. 

Mr.  and  Mrs.  Geo.  A.  Martin,  who  had  come  in  1834,  soon  returned  to 
Kentucky,  their  old  home,  but  again  moved  to  Dixon,  where  they  lived 
on  the  Drew  farm  on  the  Palmyra  road. 

—  275  — 


Mrs.  ,T.  W.  Hamilton,  the  merchant's  wife,  died  at  Dixon  early  in  the 
'40's. 

"Aunt  Khoda,"  wife  of  Peter  McKinney,  who  came  in  1836,  was 
greatly  admired  and  respected  by  all  with  whom  she  came  in  contact. 

Others  who  came  to  Dixon  in  1837  were:  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Horace  Benja- 
min, parents  of  Ed.  Benjamin.  Mrs.  Benjamin  subsequently  was  mar- 
ried to  Aaron  L.  Porter,  once  sheriff  of  Lee  county,  and  died  in  1891. 
Miss  Caroline  Davis,  who  became  Mrs.  James  Benjamin,  mother  of  Mrs. 
Chas.  H.  Noble.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Fred  McKinney.  the  parents  of  Mrs. 
Libbie  Wilbur  (the  second  child  born  in  Dixon)  and  Mrs.  Chas.  G.  Smith. 
Mrs.  McKinney  was  one  of  Dixons  most  loved  and  respected  women  and 
was  familiarly  known  as  "Auntie  Fred."  Her  painful  death  from  an 
accident  occurred  in  1892.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Otis  Loveland,  and  the  daugh- 
ter of  the  former  by  a  previous  marriage,  Miss  Emiline  Loveland,  The 
latter  soon  married  Smith  Gilbraith,  one  of  the  most  extensive  owners  of 
Dixon  real  estate  of  that  day.  After  his  death  she  was  married  to  Mr. 
Seaman  and  both  now  reside  in  New  York.  She  is  an  aunt  of  Mrs. 
H.  E.  Paine  and  Dr.  H.  J.  Brooks. 

The  then  very  limited  supply  of  marriageable  ladies  was  at  this  time 
greatly  increased  by  the  arrival  of  the  six  Misses  Clark  from  Canada. 
One  of  these  was  soon  espoused  by  G.  W.  Chase,  Lee  County's  first 
recorder.  It  is  related  of  the  latter  that  his  wife  and  his  family,  being 
desirous  of  getting  him  to  remove  to  the  east  with  them,  induced  him  to 
enter  the  coach  to  kiss  his  wife  farewell,  when  Sheriff  Porter  slammed 
the  door  shut,  and  the  husband,  much  loath  to  leave  his  beloved  Dixon, 
was  rapidly  driven  away. 

During  the  previous  year  Stephen  Fuller  and  wife,  parents  of  Cham- 
pion Fuller,  settled  on  the  "Cave"  farm  two  miles  up  the  river,  where 
the  latter  still  resides.  Mrs.  Fuller  was  in  delicate  health  and  lived  a 
very  retired,  quiet  life.  She  was  a  member  of  the  Baptist  Church,  of 
which  Elder  Cowell  was  the  first  minister  in  Dixon.  Baptist  and  Metho- 
dist services  were  then  held  alternately  in  the  old  school  house. 

In  the  "Bend"  of  the  river  and  on  the  prairie  east  of  town,  during  the 
year  1837,  there  settled  the  families  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  James  Sauter,  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Solomon  Shellhammer  and  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Nathan  Hetler.  Mrs. 
Sauter  still  lives  in  the  Bend  with  her  children.  Mrs.  Hetler,  at  the 
present  time,  has  a  home  with  her  son  Judd  in  the  Bend.  She  is  more 
than  ninety  years  old  and  for  several  years  has  been  totally  blind. 

Other  arrivals  in  1837  were  David  H.  Birdsell  and  wife,  from  Albany, 
whose  two  daughters  were  married  to  Rev.  Luke  Hitchcock  and  Rev,  O. 

—  276  — 


F.  Ayers.  Mr.  Birdsall  succeeded  James  Dixort  as  postmaster,  but  Soon 
removed  to  Lee  Center,  where  Mrs.  Birdsall  died.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Daniel 
Brookner,  both  of  whom,  with  their  son,  died  during  the  great  cholera 
epidemic  in  Dixon.  Cyrus  Williams  and  wife,  whose  daughter  is  now 
Mrs.  Ira  W.  Lewis,  wife  of  the  present  circuit  clerk.  Thomas  McCabe 
and  wife,  who  during  the  mining  excitement  removed  to  California, 
where  they  acquired  considerable  wealth. 

Rev.  James  Depuy,  who  came  in  1837,  was  the  first  Episcopal  clergy- 
man settled  in  Dixou.  He  had  a  wife  and  one  child.  Father  Dixon  gave 
him  the  block  now  occupied  by  Messrs.  J.  V.  Thomas  arid  E.  C.  Parsons, 
and  upon  the  foundation  now  covered  by  Mr.  Parson's  house  Mr.  Depuy 
built  his  little  home.  The  house  has  been  moved  twice  and  is  now 
owned  by  Mr.  Kicken  and  stands  on  North  Jefferson  avenue.  It  is  prob- 
ably the  oldest  house  in  North  Dixon.  Mr.  Depuy  had  a  well  close  to 
his  back  door  and  many  years  after  Mr.  Depuy's  house  was  gone,  the 
writer's  only  sister,  when  she  was  but  four  years  old,  fell  into  this  well. 
Fortunately  her  father  was  close  afhand  at  the  time  of  the  fall  and 
immediately  went  to  his  daughter's  rescue  by  letting  himself  down  into 
the  well  in  one  of  the  buckets.  The  child  the  next  day  told  the  story 
thus:  ''Papa  was  a  long  time  coming  for  me  yesterday.  When  1  went 
down  I  went  heels  over  head  and  I  made  a  great  splash." 

In  the  fall  of  1837  Mr.  David  Law  and  daughter,  Mrs.  Mary  McGinnis, 
came  from  New  York.  They  were  joined  about  six  months  later  by  Mrs. 
Law  with  her  two  sons,  William  and  David  (the  present  Dr.  D.  H.  Law 
of  this  city),  and  her  three  daughters,  Grace,  Bessie  and  Theodosia.  Mrs. 
Law  lived  to  be  an  hundred  and  two  years  old.  She  died  at  the  home  of 
her  daughter,  Mrs.  McGinnis,  in  1782.  Although  so  very  old  she  was  ever  a 
great  reader  and  enjoved  conversing  on  the  news  of  the  times,  which  she 
did  most  intelligently.  She  lived  to  see  wonderful  changes  wrought 
around  her  and  took  a  keen  interest  in  them  all.  Her  life  was  ever  that 
of  a  devoted  Christian.  Mrs.  McGinnis  still  lives  on  her  farm  a  few  miles 
down  the  river.  A  woman  of  great  talents — she  has  sacrificed  herself 
while  she  labored  to  relieve  suffering  and  distress.  She  has  been 

"A  flower  born  to  blush  unseen 
And  waste  its  sweetness  on  the  desert  air." 

Bessie  Law  became,  in  1845,  the  wife  of  our  loved  and  honored  Dr. 
Everett,  and  though  less  generally  known  than  was  her  husband,  she 
was  equally  beloved  by  those  who  were  so  favored  as  to  know  her.  She 
died  in  1881.  Theodosia  Law  became  the  wife  of  Wrn.  Kennedy  and 
removed  to  St,  Paul,  where  she  died  in  1865. 

-  277  - 


While  all  of  Mrs.  Law's  daughters  were  very  attractive,  Miss  Grace 
was  so  strikingly  beautiful  in  her  youth  as  to  excite  questions  at  Sabbath 
service  as  to  who  that  beautiful  young  lady  might  be.  The  delicately 
molded  features,  golden  curls  and  exquisite  complexion  made  her  exceed- 
ingly attractive.  She  chose  to  remain  unmarried  and  lived  here  until 
her  death  in  1892.  She  showed  much  the  same  characteristics  as  her 
mother  and  has  been  called  the  "Personification  of  Industry." 

The  young  ladies  of  this  family  with  their  very  agreeable  mother 
made  their  home  a  most  delightful  place  to  visit.  They  greatly  enjoyed 
getting  their  friends  in  for  a  merrv  evening  and  their  Halloween  parties 
are  well  remembered  events. 

During  the  next  year  (1838)  the  number  of  familes  in  Dixon  was 
greatly  increased.  Solon  Crowell  became  associated  with  Mr.  James 
Wilson  (then  an  old  bachelor,  commonly  called  "Granny  Wilson")  in  the 
management  of  Dixon's  second  hotel.  "The  Rock  River  House,"  the  first 
hotel  having  been  the  "Western  Hotel"  erected  in  1736.  Mr.  Crowell 
and  wife  later  removed  to  Oregon  and  were  the  grandparents  of  Dr. 
Crowell  and  Mrs.  Augustus  Lord  of  this  city.  James  N.  Kerr  and  wife 
came  to  Dixon  during  this  year.  Mr.  Kerr,  with  John  Dixon,  Jr.,  opened 
the  first  cabinet  shop.  His  sister  Eliza  married  Joseph  Buckaloo  and 
lived  in  the  "Bend."  Left  a  widow  with  six  children,  the  eldest  of  whom 
was  but  twelve  years  old,  Mrs.  Buckaloo  heroically  set  herself  to  the  task 
of  raising  and  supporting  her  family  entirely  by  her  own  efforts.  Her 
long  and  useful  life  was  terminated  in  1892.  Three  of  her  children, 
Thomas,  George  and  Amanda,  still  reside  in  this  community.  John 
Lord  and  wife,  parents  of  John  L.  Lord  and  Mrs.  H.  Kelsey,  came  also  in 
1838  from  New  Hampshire.  Mr.  Lord  engaged  in  the  blacksmithing 
business  at  Dixon,  but  his  wife  died  soon  after  their  arrival.  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  John  Moyer,  parents  of  Jeremiah  Moyer  and  Mrs.  Swygart,  came 
during  this  year,  and  resided  at  first  on  a  farm  east  of  Dixon.  The  Edson 
family,  consisting  of  Charles  Edson,  his  wife  and  children,  Joseph, 
Epaphras,  Eliphalet,  Clinton,  Harriet,  Lucy  and  Elizabeth,  settled  upon 
the  present  Abram  Brown  farm,  southeast  of  town.  They  were  a  very 
highly  cultivated  and  much  respected  family,  deserving  of  more  extended 
mention  than  can  be  given  here.  Those  surviving  live  near  Yeeka,  Cal. 

Mr.  Wm.  Seward  and  wife,  parents  of  Mrs.  Wm.  Peacock  of  this  city, 
during  this  year  bought  Caleb  Talmage's  farm  and  moved  upon  it.  David 
Welty,  afterwards  county  judge,  removed  with  his  wife  to  Dixon  in  1838, 
and  afterwards  for  a  time  lived  upon  a  farm  near  Walton.  Charles 
Welty  and  Mrs.  Leander  Devine,  of  their  children,  still  live  in  Lee 

—  278  — 


County.  Edward  ^erry  and  wife,  who  came  this  year,  after  a  few  years 
returned  to  Toronto,  their  former  home.  Mr.  Perry  was  strict , to  the 
verge  of  Puritanism  in  his  religious  life.  He  and  his  wife  were  in  the 
habit  of  spending  that  portion  of  the  Sabbath  left  after  attending  church 
at  the  home  of  their  old  friend,  Mr.  Richards,  whose  long-suffering  fam- 
ily, which  contained  several  young  people,  were  obliged  those  long  Sunday 
afternoons  to  patiently  sit  and  listen  to  Mr.  Perry's  unmelodious  voice 
while  he  read  to  them  sermons  of  some  early  divine. 

Miss  Elizabeth  Sherwoood  came  here  from  New  York  City  in  1838  and 
was  soon  married  to  Mr.  John  P.  Dixon,  son  of  Father  Dixon,  who  resided 
with  her  at  her  present  home  in  North  Dixon  at  the  time  of  his  death. 
This  estimable  lady,  though  of  retiring  disposition,  is  greatly  loved  by 
all  who  knew  her.  Her  two  children,  Frank  and  Louise,  now  make  their 
home  with  her. 

The  same  year  Dr.  Everett  brought  here  from  Princeton  his  first  wife, 
Emily  Everett.  He  had  just  built  a  home  on  the  present  site  of  the 
home  of  his  daughter,  Mrs.  W.  N.  Johnson,  and  there  he  took  his  young 
wife.  Mrs.  Evetett  showed  unusual  talents  and  beauty  of  character,  but 
she  lived  only  about  five  years  after  coming  to  Dixon. 

In  February  of  1837  Dr.  Charles  Gardner  and  Erastus  DeWolf  came 
here  from  Rhode  Island  and  in  the  spring  of  '39  returned  to  stay.  Dr, 
Gardner's  family  then  consisted  of  his  wife  and  two  years'  old  daughter 
now  Mrs.  James  A.  Hawley.  Their  home  was  about  six  miles  out  on  the 
Chicago  road,  and  Dr.  Gardner  practiced  medicine  throughout  the  sur- 
rounding country.  Mrs.  Gardner  was  a  most  intelligent  and  enterprising 
woman  who  is  remembered  by  her  neighbors  and  friends  with  pure  love 
and  respect.  Increased  acquaintance  with  her  brought  increased  esteem. 
Her  surviving  friends  are  strongly  reminded  of  this  true  woman,  by  her 
daughters,  Mrs.  James  A.  Hawley  and  Mrs.  E.  C.  Smith,  who  resemble 
their  mother  both  in  looks  and  characteristics.  Mrs.  Gardner  died  in 
1878. 

Mrs.  DeWolf  was  Mrs.  Gardner's  aunt  and  was  a  woman  of  noble 
qualities.  She  was  the  mother  of  Rev.  Wm.  DeWolf,  who  was  so  well 
known  in  Dixon.  Her  death  occurred  in  1851. 

Rev.  Luke  Hitchcock  and  Rev.  O.  F.  Ayres,  who  married,  as  has  been 
said,  the  two  daughters  of  Mr.  Birdsall,  were  among  those  who  first  came 
to  Dixon  in  1839.  The  former  was  the  first  regular  Methodist  Episcopal 
pastor  in  this  city,  and  afterwards  attained  to  high  offices  in  that  de- 
nomination. He  and  his  worthy  wife  pass  the  decline  of  their  useful 
life  at  Chicago  with  their  daughter,  Mrs.  Wilson.  Rev.  Ayers  came  from 
'  —  279  — 


Albany,  New  York,  and  engaged  in  business  here,  preaching  at  places 
near  home  when  a  vacancy  occurred.  A  more  hospitable  family  than 
that  of  Mr.  Ayres  could  hardly  be  found.  They  took  great  pleasure  in 
entertaining  and  did  it  in  a  royal  mariner.  Mr.  Ayres  died  in  1882,  having 
lived  to  celebrate  his  golden  wedding  with  his  six  children  present.  His 
son,  D.  B.  Ayres,  is  still  a  resident  of  Dixon.  Mrs.  Ayres,  since  her  be- 
loved husband's  death,  has  spent  her  time  with  her  children. 

Others  who  came  with  their  wives  in  1839  were  Thomas  March,  a 
farmer  living  east  of  town;  Herman  Mead,  father  of  Mrs.  Sherwood  Dix- 
on; I.  D.  McComsey  (whose  widow  subsequently  was  married  to  Judge  W. 
W.  Heaton),  and  John  Van  Arnam. 

Only  one  couple  who  came  in  1840  will  here  be  mentioned,  tor  by  that 
time  so  many  new  people  were  moving  in  that  to  speak  of  all  would  make 
this  paper  entirely  too  long.  But  the  sweet  face  of  one  sweet  woman 
who  came  in  1840  must  be  allowed  as  the  list  of  this  collection.  Mrs.  J. 
T.  Little  came  from  Castine,  Maine,  a  young  and  beautiful  bride.  During 
the  later  years  of  her  useful,  Christian  life,  the  curls  of  jet  have  gradually 
turned  to  silver,  but  now  only  serve  to  enhance  the  beauty  of  the  dear, 
gentle  face.  Mr.  Little  was  at  first  a  merchant,  having  a  store  on  Water 
street.  His  nursery,  started  a  few  years  later,  was  the  first  nursery  of 
Dixon.  In  all  the  vicissitudes  of  pioneer  and  after  life,  Mr.  Little  ever 
found  in  his  wife  a  helpmate  who  brightened  all  the  way  as  they  have 
journeyed  hand  in  hand  toward  their  heavenly  home. 

On  the  fourth  of  July,  1840,  were  celebrated  no  less  than  three  mar- 
riages in  the  old  school  house;  The  plan  was  to  have  all  three  take  place 
at  six  o'clock  in  the  morning,  but  one  couple  from  Palmyra  found  the 
hour  too  early  for  them;  the  other  two  couples,  Libbie  Coggins  and  Daniel 
Stevens,  and  Annie  Bobbins  and  James  Campbell  were  more  determined, 
and  at  the  appointed  time  were  married  by  Rev.  Luke  Hitchcock.  When 
the  knots  were  both  securely  tied  loud  congratulations  were,  at  the 
proper  moment,  unexpectedly  sounded  from  the  mouth  of  a  cannon  which 
had,  unknown  to  the  wedding  parties,  been  placed  close  to  the  school- 
house  door.  Miss  Bobbins  had  come  from  New  York  in  1836. 

Others  of  the  young  pioneer  women,  before  marriage  seemed  to  them 
desirable,  succeeded  in  supporting  themselves  by  teaching  school.  The 
first  of  these  to  teach  in  the  "Bend"  was  Miss  Ophelia  Loveland,  who 
afterwards  was  married  to  J.  B.  Brooks  and  was  the  mother  of  Dr.  H.  J  . 
Brooks  and  Miss  Madgie  of  this  city.  She  received  for  her  service  the 
munificent  sum  of  one  dollar  and  a  quarter  a  week  and  "boarded'  round." 
Her  successor,  Miss  Jane  Wood,  afterwards  Mrs.  Horace  Preston,  received 

—  28Q  — 


the  same  amount,  and  where  there  Were  small  children  in  the  family 
with  whom  she  was  spending  her  week,  she  slept  with  the  children  in  a 
trundle  bed  that  was  trundled  out  from  under  the  larger  bed.  Mr.  Pres- 
ton was  at  the  time  courting  Miss  Wood,  and  each  week  he  hired  a  horse 
and  buggy  for  $1.50  to  go  for  her  and  bring  her  home.  On  considering 
the  small  profits  of  that  arrangement  it  seemed  to  them  better  to  go  into 
partnership,  which  they  accordingly  did. 

It  is  with  the  conviction  that  scant  justice  has  been  done  in  the  pre- 
ceding pages  to  these  noble  pioneer  women,  that  I  take  my  leave  of 
them.  Of  their  many  virtues,  of  their  useful  lives,  their  hardships  and 
their  joys,  I  have  been  able  to  say  but  little.  Of  some,  entitled  to  the 
highest  respect  and  extended  eulogy,  the  limits  of  this  article  have  pre- 
cluded me  from  giving  more  than  a  mere  passing  recognition.  Doubtless 
this  catalogue  of  names  is  incomplete.  Nor  can  a  history  now  be  written 
which  shall  bring  the  reader  into  genuine  sympathy  with  the  lives  of 
these  pioneers.  They  are  now  all  but  gone,  and  their  very  names  will 
soon  perhaps  be  forgotten.  But  the  foundation  they  laid,  and  the  works 
they  wrought,  and  the  influence  they  extended  upon  those  who  follow  in 
their  footsteps,  will  endure. 

BESSIE  BOARDMAN  WlNGERT. 


Dr.  OtiVer   Everett. 


WHAT  a  fund  of  material  I  might  have  had  for  this  little  sketch 
of  mv  father's  early  life  in  the  west,  had  I  treasured  in  my  mind 

all  that  I  have  heard  him  recount.    As  it  is,  I  fear  it  will  be 
very  meager. 

My  father,  Dr.  Oliver  Everett,  was  born  in  Worthington,  Mass.,  Sept. 
12th,  1811.  He  was  one  of  a  family  of  fifteen  children,  ten  of  whom  lived 
to  reach  man  and  womanhood.  He  received  his  education  in  the  school 
of  the  neighborhood,  working  upon  the  farm  in  summer  and  attending 
school  in  winter.  He  then  entered  upon  the  study  of  medicine,  teaching 
school  in  the  meantime  to  pay  his  way  through  college.  In  June,  1836, 
he  graduated  from  the  Berkshire  Metlical  College  connected  with  Wil- 
liams College.  His  old  preceptor,  Dr.  Daugherty  of  Marlborough,  N.  Y., 
then  offered  him  a  partnership  with  him.  but  "Westward  ho!"  was  the 
watchword  then,  and  he  declined,  determining  to  seek  his  fortune  in  the 
much-talked-of  but  cornparitively  little  known  West. 

Two  years  previous  his  elder  brother  and  a  married  sister  had  pre- 
ceded him  and  located  at  Princeton  in  this  state.  I  hope  I  may  be  par- 
doned a  littls  digression  here,  that  I  may  relate  anflncident  in  my  aunt's 
wedding  journey.  A  year  or  two  before  her  husband  had  come  west  and 
taken  up  a  claim,  on  which  he  had  built  a  log  cabin.  In  1834  he  returned 
to  Massachusetts  and  married  her,  and  they  made  the  journey  to  Chicago 
in  the  usual  manner.  When  they  reached  there  either  the  funds  had  run 
low  or  there  was  no  conveyance  to  be  obtained  to  take  them  the  remain- 
der of  their  journey.  He  found  her  a  boarding  place,  left  her  and 
walked  to  Princeton,  got  his  ox  team  and  wagon  and  proceeded  to  Chi- 
cago, returning  to  his  little  log  cabin  in  triumph  with  his  bride  at  his 
side  in  the  ox  cart.  Thus  were  difficulties  overcome  by  those  old  pioneers 
of  the  early  days. 

But  to  return  to  my  father.  He  bought  as  large  a  stock  of  medicines 
and  instruments  as  his  very  limited  means  would  allow,  and  with  a 
small  but  comfortable  outfit  of  clothing,  for  all  of  which  one  chest  was 
amply  sufficient,  he  turned  his  steps  westward,  to  see  what  fortune  and 
the  future  had  in  store  for  him.  In  those  clays  the  journey  was  made  by 
stage  or  wagon  from  my  father's  home  to  Albany,  thence  to  Buffalo  via 
the  Erie  Canal,  and  from  there  by  steamboat  by  way  of  the  lakes  to  Chi- 
cago. When  he  arrived  in  the  latter  place  he  found  there  was  no  way 
for  him  to  reach  Princeton,  where  he  intended  visiting  his  relatives  for 

—  282  — 


a  few  days,  except  by  walking.  Leaving  his  heavy  baggage  there,  he 
slung  his  carpet-bag  over  his  shoulder  on  a  stout  stick  and  started  on  his 
long,  lonely  tramp— knowing  nothing  of  the  country  or  what  clangers  he 
might  have  to  encounter.  One  hundred  and  five  miles  did  he  pursue  his 
weary  way  over  the  trackless  prairies  in  the  heat  of  summer,  suffering  so 
from  thirst— for  the  streams  were  scarce — that  he  was  glad  to  scoop  with 
his  hands  the  water  from  the  hoof-prints  of  cattle,  which  recent  rains 
had  filled,  and  in  that  manner  quenched  his  thirst.  Think  of  it,  you 
pampered  young  men  of  to-day,  who  think  it  a  hardship  to  walk  even  a 
mile  or  two. 

After  spending  a  little  time  with  his  relatives  in  Princeton  he  bought 
a  horse  and  started  out  to  seek  a  location.  On  the  third  day  of  Septem- 
ber, 1836,  he  rode  into  "Dixon's  Ferry"  and  here  he  decided  to  "pitch  his 
tent"  and  "grow  up  with  the  country!"  When  my  father  came  here 
Dixon  had  four  log  houses,  a  frame  house,  a  blacksmith  shop  and  two  or 
three  houses  in  course  of  construction.  In  a  letter  written  a  few  years 
•after  he  came  here,  I  find  the  following  description  of  the  place  as  he 
first  saw  it.  "This  slope,  where  the  heart  of  the  town  now  is,  was  then 
covered  with  large,  spreading  trees,  while  the  ground  beneath,  perfectly 
clear  of  underbrush,  presented  a  smooth  green  surface,  which  with  the 
ever-beautiful  river  at  its  base  and  the  opposite  bank  rising  gradually  in 
the  distance— also  covered  with  trees  and  presenting  a  clean,  park-like 
appearance,  with  the  bluffs  crowned  with  lofty  trees  and  the  islands  dot- 
ting the  river,  appearing  like  compact,  rounded  masses  of  green  foilage, 
veiled  only  by  the  silver  lustre  of  the  maple  leaves,  presented  a  scene  of 
of  beauty  and  loveliness  which  has  passed  away  forever  from  this  place. 
The  woodman  with  his  ax,  the  quarryman  with  his  pick  and  crowbar- 
are  sad  despoilers  of  beauty." 

When  a  mere  lad  my  father  had  developed  a  great  fondness  for  the 
study  of  botany  and  geology,  which  had  been  fostered  by  his  friend  and 
preceptor.  Dr.  Daugherty.  Together  they  pursued  these  studies  in  leisure 
hours,  and  roamed  the  hills  and  vales  for  new  specimens  of  flora  and 
minerals.  These  western  prairies,  covered  with  such  an  endless  variety 
of  rare  flowers  which  were  strange  to  him,  and  the  limestone  formations 
hereabouts— so  different  from  the  sandstone  of  New  York  and  the  granite 
of  his  native  state — were  sources  of  enjoyment  to  him.  Many  an  hour 
that  might  otherwise  have  been  lonely  they  helped  him  to  pass.  From  a 
child  1  can  remember  how,  when  going  to  make  a  country  call,  he  always 
tucked  under  the  buggy-seat  a  good-sized  tin  box,  in  which  he  was  wont 
to  bring  home  well  moistened  his  specimens  of  flowers,  as  fresh,  almost, 

—  283  — 


as  when  gathered.  In  this  way  he  acquired  one  of  the  most  complete 
herbariums  in  this  state.  He  continued  this  practice  until  within  a  few 
years  of  his  death. 

In  those  early  days  the  country  was  very  sparsely  settled,  and  many 
places  where  my  father  was  called  to  attend  the  sick  were  ten,  twenty 
and  sometimes  forty  miles  away,  but  in  summer's  heat  or  winter's  cold, 
he  never  hesitated,  no  matter  how  long  the  distance.  He  was  forced  by 
circumstances  to  perform  many  strange  offices,  aside  from  alleviating 
pain.  Not  a  few  times  was  he  called  where  there  was  no  neighboring 
woman  to  bear  a  helping  hand,  and  he  would,  as  tenderly  as  any  woman, 
bathe  and  dress  the  tiny,  helpless  creature  who  had  just  begun  its  life's 
journey.  One  time  he  was  called  a  long  distance  to  see  a  man  who  was 
very  ill.  When  he  got  there  he  found  that  he  had  but  a  few  hours  to 
live.  The  man  had  not  realized  his  condition  until  that  late  hour,  and 
was  most  anxious  to  execute  a  will  before  he  died.  There  was  no  lawyer 
within  many  miles,  and  even  if  one  were  sent  for,  he  could  not  get  there 
in  time.  He  begged  my  father  to  draw  up  his  will.  My  father  had  no 
knowledge  of  such  craft,  and  hesitated,  for  he  feared  it  might  not  be 
valid,  but  later  on  consented.  He  drew  up  the  will  and  had  it  signed 
and  witnessed.  The  man  died  soon  after  with  his  mind  at  rest,  and  I 
will  add  that  the  will  my  father  made  that  day  held  good  in  the  eyes  of 
the  law. 

When  he  had  been  here  about  six  weeks  he  received  a  letter  from  his 
brother  in  Princeton,  who  all  his  life  had  been  a  great  tease  and  fond  of 
his  little  joke.  I  take  the  following  extract  from  that  letter:  "We  were 
very  glad  to  receive  your  letter  through  Mr.  Mosely,  who  has  just  returned 
from  Dixon's  Ferry.  I  understand  that  you  have  had  a  new  patient,  and 
that  you  had  a  most  desperate  case,  inasmuch  as  you  gave  saddlebags  and 
all  at  one  dose.  I  have  some  curiosity  to  know  whether  the  patient  recov- 
ered or  not.  I  expect  you  will  immortalize  your  name  if  "successful  in 
the  case."  My  father  was  ever  most  easily  teased,  and  I  have  no  doubt 
the  above  had  the  desired  effect. 

In  those  early  days  the  wolves  were  in  great  number,  and  it  was  no 
uncommon  occurrence  for  him,  on  his  long  rides  into  the  country,  to  be 
followed  by  a  pack  of  the  hungry  creatures.  At  that  time  he  had  no 
knowledge  of  the  use  of  firearms,  and  another  alternative  occurred  to 
him  for  disposing  of  his  troublesome  bodyguard.  Before  starting  to 
make  a  call  a  long  distance  away  he  would  mix  a  quantity  of  strychnine 
into  little  balls  of  bread  or  meat  and  carry  them  with  him  in  his  saddle- 
bags. When  the  wolves  began  to  follow  him  he  would  throw  the  balls 

-  284  — 


out,  one  by  one.  and  have  the  satisfaction  of  beholding  some  of  his  foes 
stretched  lifeless  before  he  had  passed  out  of  sight  on  the  prairie. 

In  the  summer  of  1837  my  father  began  the  erection  of  a  house.  In 
August  of  the  same  year  he  was  married.  I  cannot  refrain  from  taking 
the  following  extract  from  a  letter  describing  his  wedding,  written  by 
an  aunt  in  Princeton  to  another  member  of  the  family.  It  is  so  amusing 
that  I  copy  it  entire.  "  I  have  just  returned  from  the  nuptial  ceremon- 
ies of  Dr.  Oliver  and  Cousin  Emily.  This  morning  at  nine  o'clock  was 
the  hour  of  their  plighted  vows  at  the  hymenial  altar.  They  were  mar- 
ried at  Mr.  Bryant's,  not,  as  is  usual  on  such  an  occasion,  in  the  house, 
but  in  the  little  grove  near  the  house.  There  were  six.couples  present  to 
witness  the  performance.  The  grove  was  clear  from  underbrush,  and 
being  of  itself  a  peculiarly  romantic  character,  together  with  the  taste- 
fully arranged  tables  for  the  reception  of  the  cake,  wine,  sangaree,  lem- 
onade, etc.,  rendered  it  a  spot  delightfully  interesting.  Next  I  must  give 
you  a  description  of  the  bride.  She  was  clad  in  a  rich  royal  purple  silk 
dress;  on  her  neck  was  a  blonde  lace  ruffle,  plaited  down  to  a  point,  and 
neatly  enclosed  with  a  bow  of  white  satin  riband;  on  her  head  was 
thrown  an  elegant  white  blond  veil  (presented  by  the  doctor),  that  hung 
nearly  to  the  ground:  her  hair  hung  in  graceful  ringlets,  and  round  her 
head  was  tastefully  entwined  a  wreath,  artificial  in  form,  but  composed 
of  natural  materials,  viz:  oak  leaves  ornamented  with  flowers.  The 
bridegroom  also  was  dressed  in  superb  style,  and  in  short,  the  betrothed 
pair  in  point  of  splendor  far  exceded  anything  I  have  witnessed  in  this 
country."  I  never  imagined  my  dear  father  could  have  been  such  a 
x'si«eW."  They  drove  across  the  country  to  Dixon  for  their  wedding 
journey.  As  his  house  was  not  completed  they  boarded  until  part  of  it 
was  made  habitable,  when  they  went  to  housekeeping.  From  the  time 
my  father  had  a  home  of  his  own  he  had  a  garden  in  which  he  cultivated 
both  flowers  arid  vegetables,  and  in  which  it  was  his  delight  to  work  in 
leisure  moments.  Being  called  from  home  for  a  few  days  at  one  time  he 
wrote  his  young  wife  a  very  brief  letter,  bidding  her  "be  careful  and  keep 
the  gate  closed  so  that  the  cows  will  not  get  into  the  garden." 

One  of  the  gentlemen  who  boarded  at  Mr.  Gilbraith's,  next  door,  was 
the  owner  of  a  black  bear,  which  was  kept  chained  to  a  large  tree  in  the 
backyard.  My  sister  Emily  was  a  baby  at  that  time  and  her  cradle  had 
been  brought  into  the  kitchen  that  her  mother  might  have  her  near  while 
she  was  attending  to  her  household  duties.  She  was  sleeping  and  her 
mother  had  gone  to  another  part  ot  the  house,  leaving  her  alone.  A  few 
minutes  later  my  father  entered  the  house  aud  to  his  horror  beheld  the 

—  285  — 


huge  beast  with  his  head  over  in  the  cradle  snuffing  at  the  unsuspecting 
infant,  probably  with  the  intent  of  ascertaining  what  sort  of  a  cub  she 
was.  He  lost  no  time  in  driving  the  bear  out,  and  he  was  soon  secured 
to  the  chain  from  which  he  had  escaped. 

In  1842,  after  five  brief  years  of  married  life,  my  father  lost  his  wife, 
who  died  quite  suddenly,  having  been  ill  but  a  few  days. 

On  the  fifth  of  February,  1846,  he  was  married  to  my  mother,  Bessie 
Law,  by  Rev.  Luke  Hitchcock.  On  account  of  my  grandfather  Law's 
death  the  preceeding  December,  it  was  a  very  quiet  wedding,  after  which 
they  drove  from  the  farm  to  their  home,  and  my  mother  at  once  took  her 
new  duties  upon  her  by  preparing  their  supper,  of  which  they  partook  in 
the  kitchen  which  is  still  a  part  of  my  home.  I  never  saw  a  more  united 
or  happier  couple  than  were  my  father  and  mother.  They  were  indeed 
one  in  every  respect;  in  their  tastes,  their  feelings  and  in  every  particular. 
In  all  the  years  they  lived  together  I  can  never  recall  one  cross  or  even 
impatient  word  passing  between  them. 

My  father  had  been  some  years  in  the  west  before  he  learned  to  use 
fire  arms.  After  that  he  never  went  into  the  country  unaccompanied  by 
rifle  and  shot  gun,  and  many  a  deer  he  brought  home,  as  well  as  quanti- 
ties of  geese,  ducks,  prairie  chickens  and  quail,  so  that  the  table  was 
always  bountifully  supplied  with  game.  I  remember  one  of  his  anecdotes 
in  regard  tothe^game,  which  afforded  him  untold  amusement,  but  brought 
woe  to  the  hearts  of  the  unoffending  small  maidens.  He  had  been  many 
miles  away  on  a  professional  call  and  returned  just  at  nightfall  bringing 
into  the  house  with  him  a  large  goose,  which  he  laid  at  my  cousin's  feet, 
saying,  "Here  Kizzie  is  a  goose  for  you  to  pick."  My  sister  Emily  clapped 
her  hands  and  demonstrated  great  joy  at  her  escape,  for  it  was  a  rule  in 
the  family  that  the  girls  were  in  turn  to  pick  the  game,  and  they  both 
detested  picking  a  goose.  Her  joy  was  of  short  duration,  however,  for 
my  father  returned  again  to  the  house,  bringing  with  him  another  goose, 
which  he  handed  to  Emily.  He  went  to  and  from  the  buggy  until  he  had 
presented  each  of  the  girls  with  five  geese,  and  still  one  remained,  which 
in  all  made  eleven' that  he  had  brought  down  with  one  shot  of  his  double- 
barreled  shot  gun.  The  girls  were  at  first  disgusted,  then  indignant, 
and  finally  became  speechless  from  shere  amazement  and  despair.  Oh! 
no,  you  Nimrods  of  the  present  day,  this  is  no  "fish  story,"  but  fully  wit- 
witnessed  and  duly  sworn  to  by  his  much  abused  victims  and  others. 

At  one  time  when  a  large  sum  of  money  had  been  deposited  in  the 
land  office,  which  was  just  across  the  street  from  our  house,  there  were 
grave  fears  that  a  scheme  was  on  foot  to  rob  the  office.  Mr.  Mixter,  the 

—  286  — 


land  agent  at  that  time,  came. to  my  father  and  asked  his  assistance  in 
hiding  the  money.  They  dug  a  hole  in  one  corner  of  our  cellar  and  after 
nightfall  the  money  was  brought  over  and  placed  therein.  They  then 
replaced  the  earth  and  stamped  it  down  until  there  were  no  traces  left 
of  the  ground  having  been  disturbed.  There  it  remained  until  arrange- 
ments were  made  in  the  course  of  a  few  days  for  its  removal  to  Chicago. 

It  is  needless  to  say  that  my  father's  slumbers  were  none  of  the  sound- 
est during  that  time,  or  that  his  rifle  and  shotgun  were  kept  within  con- 
venient distance,  for  the  country  at  that  period  was  infested  with  a  band 
of  robbers  and  horsethieves.  My  father  was  one  of  the  sufferers  at  their 
hands,  for  he  had  a  flrie  black  mare  stolen,  and  could  never  obtain  the 
slightest  trace  of  her  or  her  abductors. 

The  county  jail  it  those  years  was  in  the  northwest  corner  of  the  lot 
now  owned  by  Mr.  George  Steel,  and  just  across  the  street  south  from  our 
house.  Many  were  the  alarms  the  family  had  from  that  quarter.  When 
Croft,  one  of  the  men  who  committed  those  terrible  murders  on  Green 
River  in  the  early  days,  cut  his  throat,  with  a  razor  accommodatingly 
supplied  him  by  his  own  wife,  the  sheriff  rushed,  over  for  my  father. 
When  he  got  there  he  at  once  saw  that  nothing  could  be  done  to  save  the 
man's  life,  and,  indeed,  it  was  but  a  few  moments  until  he  breathed  his 
last,  thus  closing  another  chapter  in  that  terrible  record  of  crime.  I  will 
relate  one  other  incident  connected  with  the  jail  that  occurred  some 
years  later  when  Mr.  Porter  was  sheriff.  One  night  Mr.  Porter  had 
neglected  to  lock  in  their  cells  the  five  or  six  prisoners,  most  of  them 
desperate  characters,  confined  in  the  jail.  They  planned  among  them- 
selves a  sham  flght,  which  would  necessitate  the  sheriff  coming  into 
their  midst,  when  they  intended  to  overpower  him  and  make  their  escape. 
Their  plan  worked  well  up  to  a  certain  point.  When  Mr.  Porter  heard 
the  disturbance  in  the  jail  he  at  once  entered  fearlessly,  telling  his  wife 
to  lock  the  door  after  him.  He  was  almost  instantly  struck  down  by  one 
of  the  men,-  with  two  stove  legs  tied  together  as  a  weapon.  Seeing  this, 
Mrs.  Porter  lost  no  time  in  getting  to  the  window  and  calling  loudly  for 
help,  and  adding  that  Mr.  Porter  was  being  murdered.  My  father,  hear- 
ing her  call,  jumped  from  his  bed,  seized  his  gun  from  the  corner  of  the 
room,  and  without  waiting  an  instant,  ran  to  the  rescue  in  his  night- 
clothes:  entering  the  jail  he  saw  Mr.  Porter  lying  in  the  little  narrow 
passage-way,  bleeding  and  apparently  lifeless,  and  the  desperate  men 
making  every  effort  to  break  open  the  door.  At  once  pointing  his  gun  at 
4hem  my  father  shouted,  "Into  your  cells,  every  one  of  you,  or  I'll  shoot!" 
The  prisoners  literally  fell  over  each  other  in  their  haste  to  obey  hiscom- 

—  287  — 


I 

mand.  It  has  always  been  a  question  in  my  own  mind  as  to  what  it  really 
was  which  impelled  such  a  precipitate  flight  on  the  part  of  the  prisoners 
— the  gun,  or  the  extraordinary  appearance  my  father  must  have  pre- 
sented. Other  neighbors  by  that  time  were  at  hand, well  armed,  and  the 
jail  door  was  opened,  the  men  securely  locked  in  their  cells,  and  Mr.  Por- 
ter carried  out.  His  wounds,  most  of  which  were  on  his  head,  were  clai.- 
gerous,  but  not  fatal.  Upon  examination  the  following  morning  it  was 
ascertained,  not  a  little  to  my  father's  chargrin,  that  he  had  valiently 
gone  to  the  rescue  with  a  gun  in  which  there  was  no  load. 

My  mother  was  best  known  in  her  own  home,  and  was  among  the  poor 
and  distressed,  ever  seconding  my  fathers's  efforts  for  their  relief.  She 
cared  little  for  society  at  large,  but  was  warmly  attached  to  her  friends. 
Her  unselfish  devotion  to  her  own  famiiy  can  never  be  expressed  and  is 
known  only  to  those  who  experienced  it  through  every  day  of  her  life, 
which  came  to  a  close,  after  a  long  and  most  painful  illness,  on  the  fourth 
of  May,  1881. 

The  summer  the  dread  cholera  so  devastated  our  little  town  we  child- 
ren were  sent  into  the  country  to  stay  at  our  grandmother's,  but  my 
mother  refused  all  of  my  father's  appeals  to  her  to  accompany  us,  and 
stayed  at  his  side  through  it  all.  One  man,  a  stranger  here,  without 
either  home  or  money,  was  taken  with  the  disease.  My  father  put  a  cot 
in  his  barn  and  brought  him  there,  while  my  father  cared  for  and  nursed 
him  through  that  terrible  illness,  until  death  relieved  him  from  his  suf- 
fering. My  father  was  called  to  see  an  Irish  woman  who  lived  in  a  little 
shanty  below  our  house,  and  found  she  had  been  attacked  by  the  same 
disease  which  had  but  a  few  short  hours  before  carried  off  her  husband. 
He  did  all  that  he  could  to  relieve  her  that  night.  Early  the  following 
morning  he  went  again,  to  find  that  the  "Grim  Destroyer"  had  been  be- 
fore him.  Nearly  every  one  was  paralyzed  with  fear,  and  the  poor  creat- 
ure was  alone,  except  for  her  little  child  a  few  months  old  who  lay  in 
the  bed  beside  her  trying  to  draw  nourishment  from  her  cold  breast,  and 
patting  with  its  tiny  hands  her  dead  face.  He  lifted  the  little,  helpless 
thing  in  his  arms,  and  carried  it  home  to  my  mother.  She  kept  and 
cared  for  it  several  days,  until  the  priest,  hearing  of  it,  came  and  relieved 
her  by  sending  it  to  a  relative  of  its  parents.  One  man,  who  was  very  ill, 
came  to  the  house  for  some  medicine.  My  father  was  not  at  home,  so  he 
sat  down  under  a  tree  in  the  yard  to  wait  for  his  return;  my  mother  in 
the  meantime  doing  all  she  could  for  his  relief,  but  in  vain,  for  death 
came  to  him  where  he  sat.  Such  were  some  of  the  scenes  through  which 
my  father  and  mother  passed  in  that  dread  time. 

—  288  — 


A  Frenchman,  whose  name  has  escaped  my  memory,  came  here  in  the 
early  days,  bringing  with  him  an  old  French  woman  as  housekeeper. 
He  remained  but  a  short  time,  leaving  the  poor  old  lady  to  shift  for  her- 
self in  this  strange  new  country,  and  in  destitute  circumstances.  She 
lived  in  a  little  log  cabin  on  the  corner  of  Galena  and  Second  streets, 
where  Mrs.  Lewis  now  lives,  and  tried  to  support  herself  by  making  lace, 
an  undertaking  in  which  she  was  not  successful.  My  father  and  mother 
furnished  her  with  fuel,  wood  and  other  necessities  of  life,  until  her 
health  failed  completely,  when  they  brought  her  to  their  own  home,  and 
cared  for  her  for  several  years,  until  her  death.  Some  of  the  early  set- 
tlers now  living  will  still  remember  "Old  Madame  Gabriel,"  as  she  was 
always  called.  Hers  was  the  first  dead  face  my  childish  eyes  had  looked 
upon,  and  I  have  a  vivid  remembrance  of  it  even  yet. 

One  night,  while  my  father  was  away  from  home  on  an  all  night  call, 
my  mother  had  a  very  bad  fright.  About  twelve  o'clock  two  men  came 
to  the  door,  and  demanded  admittance.  She  asked  them  what  they 
wanted,  but  repeated  demands  for  admittance  was  all  she  could  get  in 
reply.  When  she  refused,  most  decidedly,  they  threatened  to  break  in 
the  door,  and  immediately  began  to  carry  out  their  threats.  My  mother 
and  the  servant  girl  moved  all  the  large  pieces  of  furniture  and  piled 
them  up  against  the  doors,  for  the  men  would  try  first  one  door  and  then 
another.  Then  an  interval  of  quiet  would  ensue,  when  only  their  voices 
could  be  heard,  muttering  beneath  the  windows,  which  were  protected 
by  ^tout  shutters.  Again  the  attack  on  the  doors  would  be  renewed,  and 
so  it  was  during  all  the  hours  of  that  long  night,  which  to  my  mother,  in 
her  terror,  seemed  endless.  Just  as  the  day  was  dawning,  after  a  terrible 
onslaught,  during  which  it  seemed  that  the  door  must  give  way  every 
minute,  the  disturbance  ceased.  Soon  after  my  father  returned,  and 
when  it  was  light  two  empty  whiskey  bottles  were  found  beneath  the 
window — sufficient  explanation  of  the  occurrence. 

Who  would  have  thought  that  our  dignified  parents  could  have  perpe- 
trated such  as  First  of  April  jokes?  I  am  loath  to  admit  this,  but  it  is  a 
lamentable  fact.  My  mother  and  aunt  Theodosia,  who  had  been  the 
victims  of  many  of  my  father's  jokes,  conceived  the  idea  of  "getting 
even"  with  him.  It  was  the  First  of  April  and  the  hour  was  at  hand. 
Early  in  the  morning  they  told  him  that  he  had  received  an  urgent  call 
to  Mr.  Mixter's.  After  hurrying  through  his  breakfast  he  departed  in 
great  haste,  unsuspicious  of  the  trap  into  which  he  had  fallen.  When  he 
reached  the  house  he  found  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Mixter  happy  and  smiling,  but 
— as  he  afterward  remembered — showing  some  surprise  at  receiving  a 

—  289  — 


friendly  call  at  so  inopportune  an  hour.  After  chatting  for  some  time  he 
inquired  who  was  sick;  their  looks  of  dismay,  and  finally  Mrs.  Mixter's 
exclamation,  "Why!  Doctor,  don't  you  know  it  is  the  First  of  April," 
threw  the  requisite  light  on  the  situation.  He  departed  amid  roars  of 
laughter,  but  ic  was  many  a  long  day  before  he  was  allowed  to  forget  how 
beautifully  he  had  been  "April  fooled." 

When  I  think  of  my  father's  busy  life  and  how  really  few  leisure  hours 
he  had  at  his  disposal,  I  can  but  look  with  wonder  upon  the  extensive 
collections  of  specimens  in  geology  and  natural  history  which  he  acquired- 
He  spent  but  little  money  upon  them,  but  many, hours  of  exhaustless 
patience  and  painstaking.  Some  of  my  earliest  recollections  are  con- 
nected with  his  collection  of  birds.  I  can  see  him  now.  with  coat  off  and 
hard  at  work,  while  we  children  watched  with  open  mouths  and  eyes  the 
process  uf  removing  the  skin  so  carefully  that  scarcely  a  feather  would 
be  ruffled,  only  to  see  it  tilled  out  again,  and  the  bird  set  up  "as  natural 
as  life"  when  all  was  done.  Of  insects,  bugs  and  butterflies  alone  he  had 
between  two  and  three  thousand  specimens.  With  what  infinite  care  he 
arranged  the  silken,  gossamer  wings  and  tiny,  slender  legs.  Taken  al- 
together his  was  one  of  the  largest  private  collections  in  this  state.  His 
later  years  were  devoted  mainly  to  the  accumulation  of  the  fossil  sponges 
in  this  vicinity,  of  which  he  was  really  the  discoverer.  The  eighth  vol- 
ume of  the  Geological  Survey  of  Illinois,  in  which  they  are  described  and 
illustrated,  has  to  say  of  them  as  follows:  "The  collection  described  on 
the  following  pages  comprises,  without  doubt,  the  most  interesting  and 
important  addition  to  our  knowledge  of  Palaeozoic  sponges,  ever  made." 

In  looking  over  his  papers  I  have  come  upon  letters  from  Asa  Gray, 
(whose  works  on  Botany  are  so  widely  known)  Major  Powell,  A.  H.  Wor- 
then  and  others  of  distinction,  which  illustrate  what  his  standing  was 
among  scientific  men. 

It  is  told  by  members  of  his  own  family  that  as  a  boy,  my  father  was 
extremely  fretful  arid  irritable,  and  that  when  he  was  quite  small,  his 
mother  had  to  bribe  him  with  a  snoon  full  of  apple  sauce  before  she  could 
induce  him  to  go  to  bed.  The  old  saying,  "the  boy  is  father  to  the  man," 
certainly  was  at  fault  in  his  case,  for  all  who  knew  him  recognized  the 
extreme  evenness  of  his  disposition. 

I  quote  the  extract  given  below  from  a  paper  written  by  Dr.  C.  C.  Hunt 
of  this  city,  and  read  at  the  meeting  of  the  Illinois 'Medical  Society  in 
1889,  in  regard  to  one  branch  of  his  practice:  "For  many  years  ilinre 
was  scarcely  a  case  of  importance  for  many  miles  around  that  he  was  not 
called  upon,  sooner  or  later,  to  visit.  He  personally  attended  over  thirty - 

—  290  — 


six  hundred  labor  cases,  and  saw  in  consultation,  probably,  many  hun- 
dred more.  This,  considering  the  sparseness  of  the  population  during 
the  greater  part  of  his  professional  career,  indicates  an  amount  of  hard 
work  and  physical  exposure,  that  were  simply  immense."  Mv  father  was, 
at  one  time,  offered  the  chair  of  Obstetrics  in  the  Rush  Medical  College, 
of  Chicago,  but  declined.  He  was  elected  mayor  of  Dixon  in  1863.  He 
was  a  member  of  the  first  Board  of  Trustees  for  the  Northern  Illinois 
Hospital  for  the  Insane,  at  Elgin,  serving  from  1869  to  1873,  when  he  re- 
signed the  position.  He  was  also  the  first  Pension  Examining  Surgeon 
appointed  in  this  district,  receiving  the  same  without  solicitation,  and 
serving  until  his  resignation  took  effect. 

In  the  spring  of  1862,  my  father  was  sent  south  with  many  other  phy- 
sicians, after  the  battle  of  Shiloh  in  anticipation  of  another  battle  near 
Corinth.  Upon  returning  home,  some  twelve  thousand  dollars  were  in- 
trusted him  by  the  "boys"  to  bring  home  to  their  friends  throughout  the 
county.  This  he  did,  carrying  the  large  amount  of  money  in  his  satchel, 
which  certainly  was  a  mark  of  great  confidence  in  his  fellow-men,  if 
rather  a  risky  proceeding.  During  the  entire  time  of  the  war,  he  at- 
tended the  families  of  soldiers  free  of  charge,  and  when  in  need,  supplied 
them  with  wood  from  his  farm,  and  with  money.  In  this  way  he  served 
his  country,  as  well  perhaps,  as  many  a  man  who  went  to  the  front. 

The  photograph  of  the  first  house  in  Dixon,  to  be  illustrated  in  this 
book,  was  taken  from  a  painting  by  Noah  Brooks.  My  father,  from  mem- 
ory ,Vdrew  the  sketch  of  Father  Dixon's  log  house,  arid  Mr.  Brooks  painted 
it,  supplying  the  figures,  wagon,  and  scenery;  the  latter,  not  true  to 
nature,  as  I  have  often  heard  my  father  say  that  the  trees  were  so  large 
in  those  days,  and  so  free  from  underbrush  that  a  horse  and  buggy  could 
be  driven  almost  anywhere  through  the  woods.  At  one  time  when  he 
was  making  a  call  at  Mr.  Brierton's,  on  what  is  now  known  as  the  Days- 
ville  road,  he  looked  across  the  country  from  the  high  hill  to  White  Rock 
and  saw  a  herd  of  deer  grazing  there,  which  will  illustrate  what  the  tim- 
ber was,  to  enable  one  to  look  through  it  so  great  a  distance. 

On  the  third  of  September,  1886,  the  fiftieth  anniversary  of  my  father's 
settlement  in  Dixon,  he  had  a  reception,  sending  out  between  three  and 
four  hundred  invitations  to  old  friends  and  patients,  near  and  far.  In 
the  afternoon  the  reception  was  given  to  those  from  the  country  and  sur- 
rounding towns,  and  to  the  old  settlers  of  the  earliest  years;  in  the  eve- 
ning to  the  city  friends  and  patients.  Very  few  regrets  were  received, 
and  our  rooms  were  crowded,  both  afternoon  and  evening.  I  can  see  be- 
fore me  my  father's  happy  face,  and  the  joy  shining  through  his  eyes,  to 

—  291  — 


which  the  tears  of  deep  feeling  had  welled;  nor,  shall  I  soon  forget  how 
much  pleasure  he  took  during  the  following  winter  in  recalling  each  inci- 
dent of  that  "red  letter  day."  In  the  evening  a  beautiful  reclining  chair 
was  presented  him  by  his  friends,  the  Hon.  E.  B.  Washburne,  who  came 
from  Chicago  to  attend  the  reception,  making  the  presentation  speech 
in  the  following  words,  which  I  copy  from  the  Evening  Telegraph  of  that 
date4 

"MY  FRIEND:— It  has  fallen  to  my  lot  to  voice  the  kindly  feelings  of 
your  many  friends.  It  is  with  great  pleasure  I  undertake  the  task.  You 
and  I  have  been  friends  for  many  years,  and  I  have  had  none  better  than 
you.  Both  of  us  were  Yankees  seeking  new  homes.  You  were  a  little 
bitspryer  than  I,  and  came  to  Dixon's  Ferry  in  1836;  I  was  four  years 
behind  you.  *  *  *  It  was  always  a  great  pleasure  for  me  to  visit  Dixon. 
Two  of  my  dearest  friends  lived  here.  They  were  big  hearted  men,  kind, 
honest  and  true. 

"A  wit's  a  feather,  and  chief  a  rod, 

An  honest  man's  the  noblest  work  of  God." 

I  know  of  no  man  in  honor  of  whose  fiftieth  anniversary  of  settlement 
I  would  go  as  far  as  I  have  on  this  occasion.  To  make  your  remaining 
years— and  all  hope  and  trust  they  will  be  many — more  comfortable,  and 
as  a  slight  token  of  their  great  love  for  you,  your  friends  have  asked  me 
to  present  this  beautiful  chair.  It  is  with  more  than  ordinary  pleasure 
that  I  speak  the  feelings  of  these,  your  neighbors,  who  have  presented 
you  wiih  this  beautiful  token  of  their  respect  and  love.  Two  men  who 
lived  here  1  have  long  known  as  the  most  kind  and  honest  men  that  I 
have  ever  known,  and  I  need  not  say  that  I  refer  to  Father  Dixon  and 
you.  Doctor  Everett."  I  also  copy  the  closing  sentence  of  the  article 
written  by  Mr.  John  Moore  of  the  Dixon  Sun  and  published  in  that  paper. 
"As  we  looked  over  the  great  gathering  of  friends  that  came  up  last  Fri- 
day night  with  such  spontaneous  expressions  of  regard,  we  could  but 
wonder  if  there  might  not  be  hovering  near,  an  immensely  larger  circle 
of  old  friends,  tried  and  true,  showering  their  blessings  of  benediction  on 
the  silvery  head  of  him  who  sat  in  our  midst;  and  the  thought  would  in- 
trude itself  that  some  day  there  would  be  another  meeting  at  the  Doc- 
tor's house,  when  the  eyes  of  the  visible  ones  would  be  dimmed  with 
parting  tears,  but  that  larger  host  would,  with  outreaching  arms  and 
welcoming  smiles,  come  to  the  reception  of  the  grandly  good  old  man." 
To  me  the  conception  seems  very  beautiful  and  comforting.  I  am  very 
pleased  to  pay  this  little  tribute  to  Mr.  Moore,  for  no  one  has  overwritten 
with  so  much  feeling  or  so  fittingly  of  the  old  settlers  as  he  has  in  the 

—  292  — 


articles  which  have  from  time  to  time  come  from  his  pen. 

I-cannot  close  this  paper  without  alluding  to  my  father's  great  love 
and  veneration  for  Father  Dixon.  For  forty  years  they  were  the  closest 
friends.  No  young  man  ever  had  a  wiser  counselor  or  truer  friend  than 
was  Father  Dixon,  and  each  year  that  passed  but  cemented  their  friend- 
ship more  strongly.  I  have  so  many  times  heard  my  father  say  that  he 
had  known  Father  Dixon  as  intimately  and  nearly  twice  as  long  as  his 
own  father,  and  that  he  was  sure  that  he  had  loved  him  quite  as  well,  for 
he  had  never  met  a  better  man  or  even,  be  thought,  one  so  good.  In  his 
later  years  his  one  keen  regret  was  that  the  loved  and  revered  founder  of 
our  town  had  no  monument  to  mark  his  last  resting  place  and  his  most 
earnest  desire  was  to  see  one  placed  there  before  he,  too,  had  passed 
away.  "Then,"  he  was  wont  to  say,  "I  can  die  happy."  At  one  time  he 
and  Mr.  Alexander  attempted  to  raise  funds  for  this  enterprise,  but  failed 
in  the  undertaking.  Not  long  will  the  good  old  Father  Dixon's  grave 
remain  unmarked.  My  father's  hope  will  be  fulfilled,  though  his  eyes 
behold  not  the  monument  which,  through  the  efforts  of  the  Ladies'  Cem- 
etery Associatien,  will  soon  be  raised. 

After  a  short  illness  my  father  died  on  the  1st  of  May.  1888,  but  his 
memory  still  lives  in  the  hearts  of  many  who  knew  him  well  and  loved 
him. 


Law  arcel 


MY  grandmother,  Mrs.  Kezia  (Hillis)  Law  was  born  in  Hillisboro, 
near  Belfast,  County  Down,  Ireland,  on  the  second  of  July,  1782. 
The  marriage  of  her  father  and  mother  wasquitea  romance.  One 
day  when  her  mother  was  out  riding  her  horse  took  fright  and  ran  away 
with  her,  plunging  into  a  white  thorn  hedge,  where  both  horse  and  rider 
were  held  fast.  Rescue  was  at  hand,  however,  and  young  Hillis,  who  had 
witnessed  the  accident,  relieved  her  from  her  dangerous  and  unpleasant 
predicament.  The  outcome  of  this  adventure  was  not  only  one,  but  two 
cases  of  "love  at  first  sight."  In  the  face  of  opposition  (principally  on 
account  of  their  extreme  youth  and  that  the  young  man  had  just  com- 
menced his  medical  studies),  they  made  a  run-away  marriage.  When  they 
returned,  hoping  for  forgiveness,  the  lady's  father  was  so  incensed  at  his 
daughter's  disobedience,  that  he  decreed  that  they  should  never  meet 
again  until  the  young  husband  had  taken  his  degree.  Stern  old  Scoth- 
man,  that  he  was,  he  never  wavered  in  this  determination,  and  their  lit- 
tle child  was  able  to  run  alone  before  they  received  his  forgiveness  and 
were  united,  nearly  three  years  after  their  rash  marriage. 

My  grandmother  was  the  youngest  of  the  family  of  six  children.  Ire- 
land was  in  a  very  troubled  state  during  her  young  days.  Her  father  was 
obliged  to  leave  his  country  on  account  of  the  part  he  took  in  the  rebel- 
lion, and  enlisted  as  surgeon  on  board  one  of  the  ships  of  the  East  India 
Company.  Soon  after  reaching  his  destination,  he  died  Of  yellow  fever. 
No  communication  from  him  ever  reached  the  family  from  the  time  of 
their  parting,  until  they  received  the  sad  intelligence  of  his  death  in  a 
strange  land.  In  1812  my  grandmother  was  married  to  David  Law, 
who  was  born  in  December,  1772,  at  Grange,  County  Antrim,  Ireland. 
In  1817  they  emigrated  to  America  with  their  three  little  daughters,  my 
aunt  Grace,  the  youngest,  being  then  a  babe  but  two  months  old.  My 
grandmother's  mother  also  accompanied  them.  She,  however,  did  not 
long  enjoy  the  blessings  of  our  free  country,  for  she  died  two  years  after 
their  arrival  here.  When  they  first  came  to  this  country,  they  settled  at 

—  294  — 


Hoboken,  New  Jersey,  where  they  remained  two  years;  then  removed  to 
Weehawken.  After  a  period  of  three  years,  they  made  their  home  in  New 
York  City,  where  they  lived  until  the  year  1838. 

Their  home  during  that  time  was  a  refuge  for  many  a  poor  Irish  emi- 
grant until  employment  could  be  procured  for  them.  My  grandmother 
never  turned  a  deaf  ear  to  the  cry  of  distress,  and  was  ever  to  he  found 
in  homes  visited  by  sickness  and  death.  One  of  their  pensioners  was  an  old 
Revolutionary  soldier,  who  had  lost  a  leg  during  the  war.  They  gave  him 
a  room  and  every  clay  his  meals  were  carried  to  him.  It  was  a  matter  of 
much  surprise  and  conjecture  how  it  was  that  ''Old  Josie"  always  man- 
aged to  have  his  dishes  returned  perfectly  clean.  My  mother,  then  a  child 
ever  full  of  pranks,  determined  to  solve  the  mystery,  so,  after  taking  him 
his  dinner  one  day,  instead  of  leaving  the  room  as  usual,  she  hid  behind 
the  door,  and  was  greatly  amused  to  find  that  he  "licked  the  platter 
clean."  Their  old  home  is  now  a  portion  of  the  far  famed  Central  Park, 
of  New  York  City. 

Such  glowing  accounts  of  the  west  reaching  them,  and  particularly  of 
Illinois,  they  decided  to  come  here,  where  some  of  their  friends  and  rela- 
tives had  proceeded  them.  My  grandfather,  together  with  his  oldest 
daughter,  Mrs.  Mary  McGinnis,  and  three  of  her  children,  reached  Dix- 
on's  Fferry  on  the  third  of  September,  1838.  My  grandfather  had  pre- 
viously sent  out  monev  and  taken  up  land,  on  which  a  log  cabin  had  been 
built  to  secure  it.  Twenty  feet  distant  from  that  was  another  log  cabin, 
in  which  Captain  Graham  was  living  while  his  own  house  on  the  Rock- 
wood  farm  (now  owned  by  Smith  and  Lord),  was  in  the  course  of  con- 
struction. 

On  reaching  Chicago  my  grandfather  hired  teams  to  bring  them  to 
Dixon,  of  McCormick  (later  of  reaper  fame),  and  also  bought  his  first  ox- 
team  of  that  same  person.  When  they  arrived  at  their  journey's  end, and 
reached  the  little  log  cabin  down  the  river,  they  found  seven  men  in  the 
adjoining  cabin,  sick  with  fever  and  ague.  '  Only  one  of  them  had  a  bed, 
the  rest  being  rolled  in  blankets  and  buffalo  robes  on  the  floor. 

It  was  almost  night  when  they  arrived.  You  can  perhaps  imagine 
the  welcome  they  accorded  my  aunt  Mary,  after  having  been  for  so  many 
months  deprived  of  a  woman's  care  and  companionship.  She  was  not 
prepared  for  such  a  scene  6f  desolation  arid  discomfort,  and  it  is  little 
wonder  that  she  says,  "she  never  can  forget  it,"  or  the  first  supper  that 
was  served  for  the  weary  travelers,  viz:  a  large  tin  platter  of  salt  pork, 
swimming  in  gravy,  an  immense  corn-dodger,  and  bowls  of  black  coffee. 

-  295  - 


Their  beds  were  spread  on  some  loose  boards  on  the  earthern  floor  of  the 
cabin.  The  following  clay  my  aunt  Mary,  and  a  woman  they  had  brought 
with  them,  set  to  work  to  bring  about  a  better  state  of  affairs.  The 
household  goods  they  had  brought  with  them  were  unpacked,  beds  set  up, 
and  everything  arranged  with  as  much  comfort  as  possible. 

Captain  Graham  had  brought  a  gardener  out  with  him  in  the  spring 
from  New  York,  and  he  had  raised  a  fine  crop  of  vegetables,  which,  with 
the  supplies  my  grandfather  had  broughL  of  coffee,  tea,  sugar,  rice,  crack- 
ers, etc.,  enabled  them  to  live  comfortably.  There  were  but  few  cattle 
in  the  country  at  that  time,  and  butter  was  fifty  cents  a  pound,  eggs  fifty 
cents  per  dozen,  and  all  such  commodities  equally  high.  Later,  my  grand- 
father enclosed  the  space  between  the  two  log  cabins,  which  made  them 
a  very  commodious  house  for  those  days,  and  one  that  I  remember  well, 
as  many  happy  days  of  my  childhood  were  spent  within  its  walls. 

They  suffered  many  privations  during  that  winter  of  1838-9.  Their 
house  was  built  of  rough  logs,  the  cracks  filled  in  with  clay  and  mortar, 
but  before  'the  very  severe  weather  had  set  in  the  walls  received  a  coat 
of  plaster,  which  aided  greatly  in  keeping  out  the  cold.  There  were 
large  fireplaces  at  either  end,  where  they  had  to  do  all  their  cooking. 
It  was  a  very  cold  winter,  with  much  snow,  and  nearly  everyone  in  the 
country  was  prostrated  by  fever  and  ague.  Accommodations  were  scarce, 
and  the  "latch-string"  was  left  out  for  friend  and  stranger,  alike,  and  my 
aunt  Mary  had  a  housef ull,  aside  from  her  own  family,  to  nurse  and  cook 
and  care  for  during  that  winter.  Before  the  spring  came  two  inmates 
of  the  little  log  cabin  had  passed  into  the  "sleep  which  knows  no  wak- 
ing," and  were  laid  to  rest  on  the  bluff. 

The  following  June  the  remainder  of  the  family  in  the  east  joined 
them.  I  have  an  old  journal,  which  my  aunt  Grace  kept  during  their 
journey  from  New  York  to  Chicago.  It  was  written  in  pencil  in  a  small 
blank  book,  and  the  writing  is  almost  illegible,  but  by  the  exercise  of 
much  patience,  and  the  aid  of  a  strong  magnifying  glass,  I  have  suc- 
ceeded in  deciphering  it,  and  have  felt  amply  repaid  for  my  trouble. 
There  were  in  the  party  my  grandmother,  her  three  daughters,  two  sons, 
and  a  grandson,  and  William  Kennedy  (who  years  after  became  the  hus- 
band of  the  youngest  daughter,  Theodosia),  a  man-servant  and  his  wife 
also  accompanying  them.  They  left  New  York  the  sixth  of  June,  taking 
a  steamboat  up  the  Hudson  to  Albany,  where  they  had  secured  accommo- 
dations on  a  canal  boat  as  far  as  Buffalo.  The  youngest  daughter  was  ill 
when  they  left  New  York  and  continued  very  ill  through  the  entire 
journey,  never  being  able  to  leave  her  bed,  and  having  to  be  carried  from 

—  296  — 


one  boat  to  another,  when  they  had  occasion  to  change.    At  one  time 
they  feared  she  would  never  live  to  reach  her  journey's  end. 

Aunt  Grace  says  in  her  journal,  "Oh!  the  horrors  of  a  canal  boat." 
Of  course,  traveling  three  hundred  and  ninety-four  miles,  at  the  rate  of 
two  and  a  half  miles  an  hour,  as  she  said  they  did,  together  with  the 
numerous  stoppages  at  the  locks  and  to  take  in  passengers  and  freight, 
must  have  made  the  journey  seem  interminable.  The  flrst  few  days  were 
very  stormy,  with  strong  wind,  and  the  grinding  against  the  locks  and 
other  boats,  caused  them  much  discomfort.  On  such  days  they  were 
closely  confined  to  the  boat,  but  when  the  weather  was  pleasant  my 
mother,  Aunt  Grace  and  the  boys  would  walk  miles  along  the  tow-path, 
which  somewhat  varied  the  monotony.  They  were  thus  enabled  to  visit 
many  places  of  interest  on  their  way,  and  enjoyed  a  delightful  day  with 
a  cousin  at  Syracuse,  while  the  boat  was  undergoing  some  needed  repairs. 
The  canal  boat  was  very  crowded  and  had  they  not  had  their  own  cabin 
and  table,  they  would  have  experienced  even  more  discomfort. 

They  arrived  at  Buffalo  on  the  fifteenth  of  June  and  went  on  board 
the  steamer  "James  Madison,"  for  their  trip  around  the  lakes.  They  had 
very  comfortable  staterooms  and  found  the  change  from  the  canal  boat 
very  delightful.  The  flrst  few  days  they  encountered  very  stormy  weather 
and  nearly  every  one  on  board  was  prostrated  with  sea-sickness.  At 
Detroit  numbers  of  sight-seers  came  on  board  during  the  time  the  boat 
remained  there.  The  appelation  "dude"  was  unknown  in  those  days, 
but  I  think  might/wlth  justice  have  been  applied  to  some  of  the  above 
mentioned,  froKfmy  aunt  Grace's  description  of  them,  as  follows:  "The 
greater  parj/of  them  were  foreigners,  French  and  English,  with  velvet 
coats  and  caps,  white  kid  gloves  and  canes.  The  first  view  they  had  of 
the  Indians  was  at  Mackinac,  where  the  majority  of  the  passengers 
landed,  to  visit  the  fort  and  satisfy  their  curiosity  concerning  the  "noble 
red  man  of  the  forest."  They  made  many  delightful  acquaintances  on 
board  the  boat,  and  greatly  enjoyed  the  trip,  with  the  exception  of  the 
few  stormy  days  before  alluded  to.  They  arrived  in  Chicago  on  the  twen- 
ty-first of  June,  where  my  grandfather  met  them  with  teams  and  wagons 
to  convey  them  and  their  belongings  to  Dixon's  Ferry. 

My  grandmother  must  have  had  but  a  faint  conception  of  the  difficul- 
ties or  expense  of  transportation  from  Chicago  to  Dixon,  judging  from 
the  amount  of  luggage  she  brought  with  her.  She,  however,  was  not  so 
much  to  blame,  for  nearly  every  letter  my  grandfather  or  aunt  Mary 
wrote  to  her  contained  a  list  of  much  needed  articles.  At  that  time 
there  was  but  one  small  store  in  Dixon,  and  it  was  impossible  to  obtain 

—  297  — 


what  they  required.  Then,  too,  the  supply  of  money  my  grandfather  had 
brought  with  him  had  run  very  low,  as  he  had  sustained  some  severe 
losses  by  means  of  counterfeit  money,  which  at  that  time  was  being 
largely  circulated  throughout  the  west. 

I  take  an  extract  from  the  one  letter  I  have  been  able  to  secure,  writ- 
ten by  my  aunt,  for  I  think  it  may  prove  of  interest.  "Be  particular  to 
bring  every  thing  you  want,  for  you  can  get  nothing  here.  My  father  bids 
you  sell  the  plows  at  whatever  you  can  get  for  them.  Of  all  things,  do 
not  forget  the  seeds:  1  oz.  of  Brooklow:  do.  of  Early  York  Cabbage;  do.  of 
Savoy  Cabbage;  do.  of  Wellington  seed;  2  oz.  of  Okro;  do.  of  Nasturtium 
seed,  2  quarts  of  Windsor  beans.  Try  and  get  some  parsnip  seed  from 
Mr.  Dunn.  Remember  the  early  and  late  peas;  get  some  flower  seeds. 
Richard  says  for  you  to  pack  your  roots  in  moss  and  clay.  You  need  not 
bring  the  pigs  I  wrote  you  about,  for  my  father  has  got  a  very  handsome 
breed.  Bring  six  reaping  hooks,  four  curry  combs,  three  strings  of  sleigh 
bells,  two  large  and  one  sm  ill,  the  same  as  we  have,  and  two  cow  bells 
(copper).  Get  your  churn,  tubs  and  pails  made  in  Greenwich  street  (op- 
posite Clinton  Market).  Bring  the  crowbars,  picks  and  dragging  ma- 
chine, four  large  hinges  with  hooks,  for  the  barn  doors,  and  all  the  hinges 
about  the  house,  and  all  the  iron  you  have,  and  buckles  for  harness  straps 
scrap  iron  for  shoeing  sleighs,  one  large  saw  and  butcher's  knife,  one  bar- 
rel of  clover  seed,  and  one  of  Timothy  seed.  Bring  two  pieces  of  the  same 
kind  of  cloth  Mr.  M.  got  father  for  wagon  covers.  Make  bags  and  put 
your  beds  in  them;  get  plently  of  matting  and  wrap  round  your  chairs  and 
furniture.  Bring  two  pounds  of  saltpeter  and  six  bottles  of  fever  and 
ague  medicine." 

This  is  but  one  of  several  letters  that  were  written,  containing  direc- 
tions of  what  they  were  to  bring  with  them,  all  of  which  my  grandmother 
followed  to  the  letter.  Is  it  any  wonder  then,  that  my  grandfather  stood 
transfixed  at  the  magnitude  of  her  luggage?  In  addition  to  her  house- 
hold goods  and  all  the  things  she  had  been  directed  to  get,  she  had  brought 
enough  young  fruit  trees,  apple,  peach,  pear,  plum  and  cheery,  also  small 
fruits  and  flowering  shrubs  of  many  varieties,  to  stock  a  nursery.  Some  of 
them  are  still  living  on  the  old  place,  where  they  were  planted  by  hands 
long  since  folded  to  their  rest.  My  grandfather  was  so  greatly  disgusted 
at  the  amount  of  luggage  she  had  brought  that  he  gave  away  in  Chicago 
two  wagon  loads  of  her  much  prized  fruit  trees  and  shrubs  (greatly  to  her 
dismay),  also,  leaving  there  several  barrels  of  old  iron  and  peach  pits. 

They  had  brought  their  own  carriage  from  New  York,  so  the  tiresome 
drive  over  the  prairies  was  performed  in  comparative  comfort.     During 

—  298  — 


itiy  grandfather's  absence  in  Chicago  my  aunt  Mary  had  been  very  busy1 
making  preparations  for  the  reception  of  the  family — white-washing  the 
walls  of  their  future  abode,  and  giving  it  every  appearance  of  comfort 
that  was  in  her  power.  When  she  saw  the  wagon  train  at  a  little  distance, 
she  started  out  with  her  youngest  child  to  meet  them  and  give  them  wel- 
come. So  browned  were  they  by  their  rough  life  of  hardshipand  exposure, 
that  she  was  supposed,  by  her  unappreciative  relatives,  to  be  a  squaw  and 
her  papoose.  Not  flattering,  certainly,  but  perhaps  excusable  on  their 
part. 

The  man  servant  they  brought  from  New  York  with  them  was  quite  a 
character,  and  very  much  given  to  composing  what  he  called  "poetry,"  a 
specimen  of  which  I  will  give  below.  There  were  originally  about  twenty 
verses,  which  he  set  to  music,  likewise  of  his  own  composition,  but  these 
will  suffice  to  hand  down  to  future  generations.  I  wish  I  might  convey 
to  you  the  fine  rich  brogue  in  which  they  are  said  to  have  been  sung  by 
the  composer,  or  even  the  most  excellent  imiltation  given  by  my  mother 
and  other  members  of  the  family,  which  I  am  confident  could  hardly  be 
distinguished  from  the  original: 

"We  crossed  at  Dixon's  Ferry, 
On  the  twenty-sixth  of  June, 
Among  the  rolling  prairies, 
And  the  flowers  in  full  bloom. 

I'll  vote  for  William  Henri  Harrison, 
And  I'll  tell  you  the  reason  why, 
He'll  stop  the  speculation 
That  runs  the  country  dry. 

I  hired  by  the  month 
As  you  very  well  do  know, 
And  took  the  fever  and  ague, 
Which  caused  me  muckle  woe." 

I  have  not  given  the  verses  in  the  original  order,  but  one  here  and 
there,  as  they  could  be  recalled  from  memory's  depths. 

During  those  first  years  they  suffered  many  privations.  My  grand- 
father was  nearly  seventy  years  of  age,  his  oldest  son,  a  delicate  lad,  who 
had  suffered  from  hip  disease,  and  the  other  boys  too  young  to  be  of  much 
assistance.  Times  were  hard  and  it  was  almost  impossible  to  get  hired 
help  of  any  kind,  so  that  often  my  aunt  Mary,  my  mother  and  the  other 
girls  had  to  go  out  into  the  field  to  assist  in  planting  the  corn,  getting  in 
the  hay  and  harvesting  the  grain. 

They  had  no  well  or  cistern  for  some  time,  and  all  the  water  they  used 
was  hauled  in  barrels  from  the  creek,  a  mile  or  more  away.  Their  drink 

—  299  — 


ing  water  was  obtained  from  a  spring  in  the  ravine  back  of  the  house, 
about  three  quarters  of  a  mile.  My  cousin,  Margaret,  used  to  put  a  jug 
on  either  end  of  a  strap,  throw  it  over  her  horse's  back  in  front  of  her  and 
gallop  off  to  bring  the  water.  In  the  summer  season  they  used  to  take 
their  washing  to  the  spring  to  rinse  the  clothes.  As  soon  as  they  could 
they  nad  a  cistern  made.  Mv  grandfather  made  two  or  three  attempts 
to  have  a  well  dug,  but  each  time  after  getting  down  about  twenty  feet 
they  struck  solid  rock,  and  had  to  abandon  the  enterprise. 

The  game  which  was  ia  such  abundance  here,  and  the  river  teeming 
with  fish,  furnished  the  boys  much  enjoyable  sport,  as  well  as  being  a  most 
welcome  addition  to  their  larder.  Their  prairie  chickens  were  brought 
home  in  such  quantities  that  my  grandmother  used  to  take  the  breasts 
and  salt  them,  afterwards  having  them  smoked.  They  are  said  to  have 
been  delicious  prepared  in  this  way.  Sometimes  there  would  be  a  little 
grumbling  that  the  wings  and  legs  only  were  left  for  the  table,  but  this 
was  a  very  rare  occurrance,  so  plentiful  were  they. 

Two  or  three  times  after  their  arrival  here  they  were  visited  by  roving 
bands  of  Indians,  of  whom  they  were  somewhat  afraid.  So  stealthily 
would  they  approach  that  the  family  would  have  no  knowledge  of  their 
presence  until  they  would  see  a  face  at  the  window,  or  the  latch  would  be 
raised  and  half  a  dozen  of  the  red  men  stalk  into  their  midst.  A  demand 
for  food  would  invariably  be  made,  which  was  always  supplied  them.  The 
chief  men  of  the  tribe  and  their  squaws  only  would  enter  the  house, 
leaving  the  remainder  of  the  tribe  outside.  One  squaw  in  particular  I 
have  heard  described  as  being  very  beautiful,  with  a  wealth  of  raven  hair, 
which  she  wore  in  two  long  braids.  The  youngest  child  of  my  aunt,  who 
greatly  admired  her,  would  sometimes  venture  near  and  touch  her  hair, 
an  act  that  was  resented  with  fiercest  scowls.  While  the  family  were 
engaged  in  preparing  the  food  for  them,  the  Indians  employed  themselves 
in  examining  every  article  of  furniture  with  the  greatest  curiosity.  That 
which  attracted  them  most  was  the  looking  glass,  and  they  took  the 
keenest  delight  in  standing  before  it,  admiring  themselves  in  almost 
every  conceivable  posture.  They  seemed  to  have  a  certain  etiquette  in 
regard  to  accepting  hospitality,  for  if  their  plates  were  too  well  filled  to 
enable  them  to  consume  all  the  food  thereon,  they  carefully  cleaned  off 
every  scrap  and  carried  it  away  with  them.  Whether  for  a  time  of  need, 
or  because  they  considered  it  the  proper  acknowledgement  for  their  enter- 
tainment, I  dj  not  know.  One  young  chief  took  so  great  a  fancy  to  my 
cousin,  Margaret  McGinnis  (a  dark  slip  of  a  girl),  that  he  offered  to  trade 
a  pony  for  her.  An  offer,  it  is  needless  to  say,  that  was  "declined  with 

—  300  — 


thanks."    The  family  were  never  troubled  by  any  depredations  from  the 
Indians  or  annoyed  by  them  in  any  way. 

My  grandfather,  like  the  majority  of  farmers  in  those  days,  raised 
sheep.  My  grandmother  spun  the  wool  into  yarn;  and  all  the  girls  were 
adepts  in  the  art  of  knitting.  Not  only  were  all  the  family  socks  and 
stockings  fashioned  from  the  yarn,  but  many  other  useful  garments.  My 
mother  and  aunt  Grace  knitted  warm  jackets  for  all,  and  heavy  hunting 
coats  for  the  boys.  They  were  pretty  well  supplied  with  literature  for 
those  days,  and  in  the  evening  all  would  gather  around  the  big  fireplace 
and  one  would  read  aloud  while  the  rest  were  employed  with  their  sewing 
and  knitting.  My  grandmother  also  spun  the  flax  that  was  raised  upon 
the  farm,  from  which  they  knit  their  summer  stockings,  gloves  and  mitts 
and  the  hats,  too,  that  the  girls  wore.  I  have  one  of  the  latter  that 
my  mother  knit.  It  presents  a  very  funny  appearance  now,  but  1 
imagine  it  (when  well  starched  and  ironed  into  the  desired  shape,  and 
with  a  ribbon  around  it),  might  have  been  very  pretty,  if  a  trifle  odd 
looking.  Certainly,  that  "necessity  is  the  mother  of  invention,"  proved 
true  in  their  case. 

After  the  supply  of  shoes  they  had  brought  from  New  York  had  given 
out,  my  grandmother  made  the  shoes  for  herself  and  daughters.  She  had 
lasts,  awls,  wax-ends  (that  she  made  herself),  and  everything  that  was 
required  for  the  making  of  them.  The  uppers  were  of  cloth,  and  for  the 
soles  she  used  old  leather.  It  is  a  wonder  to  me  how  she  could  do  it;  hav- 
ing no  previous  knowledge  of  the  craft,  it  seerns  an  almost  impossible 
task.  There  were  no  shoemakers  here  then,  but  a  year  or  two  later  one 
appeared  on  the  scene,  and  my  grandfather  would  hire  him  to  come  to  the 
house,  where  he  remained  until  the  entire  family  were  well  shod. 

It  must  not  be  supposed  that  during  those  years  of  hard  work  and 
privations,  they  had  no  amusement.  In  an  old  diary  I  find  a  description 
of  a  Hallow'cn  party  at  their  old  home  in  1841,  where  all  the  old  flal- 
low'en  tests  of  fortune  were  tried  by  the  youug  people;  such  as  burning 
nuts,  the  three  cups,  diving  for  an  apple  in  a  tub  of  water,  the  ring  placed 
in  the  cake,  and  gazing  into  the  looking-glass  as  the  clock  strikes  twelve 
to  see  one's  true-love  looking  over  one's  shoulder,  etc.  A  right  merry 
time  they  had  until  the  "wee  sma'  hours." 

From  many  old  letters  and  anecdotes,  the  truth  has  been  forced  upon 
me  that  the  young  people  of  those  days  were  no  wiser  than  at  the  pres- 
ent time.  Then  there  were  dinners  and  balls  at  Governor  Charters'  and 
other  neighboring  houses  to  which  they  went.  Many  were  the  jolly  rid- 
ing parties  they  had  through  the  lovely  country.  They  generally  rode  to 

—  301  — 


church,  either  to  Sugar  Grove  or  to  Dixon,  on  horseback.  My  aunt  Grace 
was  never  able  to  conquer  timidity  sufficiently  to  learn  to  ride,  and  was 
thus  deprived  of  much  pleasure. 

Three  years  after  the  family  came  west,  the  eldest  son  died,  and  was 
laid  to  rest  on  the  high  bluff  overlooking  the  river  on  the  Rockwood  place, 
which  had  been  set  apart  as  a  burial  ground.  The  second  break  in  the 
family  circle  occurred  three  years  later,  when  my  grandfather  passed 
away  in  December  of  the  year  1845,  leaving  them  in  a  new  country,  with 
no  protection  or  support  other  than  boys,  my  uncle  David  being  but 
fifteen,  and  my  cousin,  James  McGinnis,  fourteen  years  of  age.  Amid 
many  discouragements,  they  struggled  through  the  succeeding  few  years. 
My  grandmother's  orchard  and  garden  had  however,  more  than  fulfilled 
her  expectations  Everything  was  done  under  her  personal  supervision, 
and  not  a  little  of  the  work  by  her  own  hands.  People  used  to  come 
many  miles  for  the  pleasure  of  walking  through  her  garden,  and  seldom 
was  it  that  they  departed  empty  handed,  as  she  was  ever  most  generous, 
and  freely  gave  both  roots  and  cuttings.  That  may  have  been  one  reason 
why  it  thrived  so  well. 

The  two  older  boys  caught  the  gold  fever  and  in  January,  '52,  started  to 
California,  crossing  the  plains  in  a  covered  wagon,  as  many  a  one  had 
done  before  them.  On  my  cousin,  William  McGinnis,  a  lad  not  nineteen 
years  of  age,  rested  all  the  responsibility  of  managing  the  farm,  and  right 
well  he  did  it.  No  boy  ever  worked  harder  or  more  faithfully,  amid  the 
burdens  that  were  placed  upon  him. 

My  aunt  Mary  has  a  journal  which  she  kept  from  the  beginning  of 
1852  until  the  ending  of  1856,  which  I  have  perused  with  much  interest. 
It  is  mainly  a  record  of  unceasing  labor  by  every  member  of  the  family. 
There  are.  however,  two  or  three  items  which  I  give.  First,  that  all 
important  topic,  the  weather.  During  the  first  of  January,  1853,  there 
were  terrific  rains,  lasting  three  or  four  days  without  cessation.  At  that 
time  their  cellar  was  flooded,  and  the  water  even  reached  the  first  floor 
of  the  house.  In  all  this  down-pour  they  were  obliged  to  work  unceasingly 
to  save  their  stock,  but  in  spite  of  their  efforts  some  of  it  was  lost,  mainly 
pigs  and  very  young  calves.  The  last  week  of  the  same  month  the  snow 
fell  for  four  consecutive  days,  and  they  carried  between  thirty  and  forty 
bushels  of  snow  out  of  their  house,  where  it  had  drifted  in.  During  the 
first  two  months  of  that  year,  snow  and  rain  fell  for  more  than  two-thirds 
of  the  time.  In  April,  of  that  same  year,  there  was  a  terrible  storm, 
hail-stones  falling  the  size  of  a  goose  egg. 

It  was  not  to  be  all  clouds  for  them  that  year,  for  the  crop  was  abund- 

—  302  — 


ant.  Such  peaches  as  my  grandmother  had  that  year,  have  never  been 
raised  about  here,  either  before  or  since.  They  were  of  great  size  and 
enormous  quantity.  That  year  they  sold  between  three  and  four  hundred 
dollars'  worth  of  peaches  alone,  and  in  addition  small  fruits  and  apples, 
of  which  they  had  a  large  supply.  The  great  abundance  of  the  wild 
fruit  in  those  early  years  can  scarcely  be  imagined.  When  they  went  out 
blackberrying,  they  used  to  take  tubs  to  bring  them  home  in;  yes,  and  fill 
them  too.  I  have  heard  it  said,  that  letters  were  written  to  friends 
•'back  east,"  by  some  of  the  earliest  settlers  here,  telling  that  the  straw- 
berries were  in  such  profusion  that  in  driving  across  the  prairies  the 
wagon  wheels  were  dyed  red  from  the  juice  of  the  berries. 

My  cousin,  Margaret  McGinnis,  was  a  famous  horsewoman,  and  small 
and  slender  though  she  was,  never  knew  the  meaning  of  the  word  fear. 
Many  a  colt  on  the  place  did  she  break  to  harness,  and  she  was  quite  as 
much  at  home  on  the  bareback  of  a  horse  as  in  the  saddle,  and  indeed, 
usually  rode  in  that  way.  She  was  also  as  proficient  in  the  use  of  shot- 
gun and  rifle  as  were  the  boys  themselves.  It  is  not  so  many  years  ago 
since  I  saw  her  take  the  gun,  go  out  and  bring  down  a  hawk  flying  over- 
head. 

In  1852,  my  aunts,  Grace  and  Theodosia,  felt  that  during  the  hard 
times  the  family  were  subjected  to,  and  as  their  assistance  was  really  not 
required  on  the  farm,  they  ought  at  least,  to  support  themselves;  so  they 
came  into  town  and  carried  on  dressmaking  for  some  years,  until  the  lat- 
ter was  married.  They  were  both  earnest  workers  in  the  church,  and 
took  an  active  part  in  most  enterprises  that  were  started.  The  love  of 
flowers  was  a  perfect  passion  with  aunt  Grace,  and  she  always  sur- 
rounded herself  with  them.  She  was  in  delicate  health  many  years 
before  she  died,  but  worked  in  her  garden  often,  when  she  should  have 
been  in  bed,  and  with  her  house-plants  up  to  the  very  day  she  was  taken 
with  her  last  sickness.  Her  hands  were  never  idle,  and  she  could  not  be 
happy  apart  from  her  sewing  and  knitting,  being  employed  with  the  lat- 
ter industry,  even  while  she  was  reading.  The  restless  feet  are  stilled; 
the  busy  hands  are  folded  now,  for  rest  came  to  her  a  little  over  a  year 
ago,  at  the  age  of  seventy-five. 

My  grandmother  was  a  woman  of  great  determination  of  character, 
and  in  her  old  age  (for  she  lived  to  be  one  hundred  and  two  years  old, 
lacking  one  month),  was  a  remarkable  woman,  inasmuch  as  she  retainer 
the  vigor  of  her  intellect,  which  was  always  bright,  until  the  very  last. 
She  took  the  greatest  interest  in  all  the  topics  of  the  day,  reading  the 
newspapers  and  keeping  herself  thoroughly  posted  in  regard  to  both  homo 

—  303  — 


and  foreign  news.  A  few  months  before  her  death  she  read  the  life  of 
the  First  Napoleon  with  the  keenest  zest.  She  had  the  most  gentle,  lov- 
ing disposition,  and  charity  beyond  words  to  express,  but  could,  when 
occasion  required,  assume  the  most  imposing  dignity  of  manner  and  com- 
mand. I  have  seen  her  draw  herself  to  her  full  height,  and  say  to  a 
member  of  the  family  (woman  grown,  who  was  speaking  in  some  heat), 
"That  will  do,  Madame," in  a  tone  so  awful  that  not  another  word  would 
be  uttered.  I  have  a  very  distinct  remembrance  also,  of  the  way  in 
which  she  was  wont  to  punish  me,  when  a  child,  for  some  misdemeanor 
of  which  I  had  been  guilty.  She  never  raised  her  hand  to  me,  but  would 
take  me  by  the  shoulders  and  give  me  so  vigorous  a  shaking  that  the 
teeth  would  rattle  in  my  head. 

My  grandmother's  bible  was  her  constant  companion,  and  she  had  the 
most  beautiful  faith  I  have  ever  known,  never  murmuring,  never  ques- 
tioning, but  accepting  all  that  was  sent  as  God's  will.  She  lived  to  see 
most  of  her  loved  ones  pass  on  before  her  to  "  That  undiscovered  coun- 
try, from  whose  bourne  no  traveler  returns;"  and  with  the  words  "Tarry 
not,  Lord,  for  I  come,"  ever  on  her  lips — calmly  awaited  the  summons, 
which  came  to  her  in  May,  1884. 

I  was  told  that  as  this  was  to  be  a  woman's  work,  I  must  confine  my- 
self more  particularly  to  the  lives  of  the  women  of  the  family.  This  I 
have  endeavored  to  do,  although  by  so  doing,  I  have  necessarily  omitted 
much  of  interest  concerning  those  of  the  family  who  were  boys  at  that 
time.  GRACE  EVERETT  JOHNSON. 


A  DISTINGUISHING  feature  connected  with  the  history  of  the 
city  of  Dixon  and  its  neighborhood,  including  the  township  of 
Dixon,  and  one  much  commented  upon  by  visitors  from  the  old 
settled  states  of  our  union,  is  the  fact  that  the  inhabitants  of  this  partic- 
ular district  are  gifted  with  a  very  high  social  standing — that  there  seems 
to  be  an  air  of  aristocratic  breeding  among  them  which  is  not  found  gen- 
erally outside  the  Wraits  of  our  eastern  cities  and  early  established  com- 
munities. The  cause  of  this  distinguishing  feature  can  be  traced  to  the 
emigration  from  the  city  of  New  York  of  a  number  of  choice  families  in 
the  years  of  1837  and  1838  to  the  Roclc  River  Valley;  Dixon's  Ferry  being 
the  terminus  of  their  long  journey. 

A  financial  crisis  had  overwhelmed  the  entire  country  in  the  year  1837 
The  business  men  of  the  city  of  New  York,  particularly  the  importers  of 
foreign  goods,  had  suffered  tremendous  reverses  of  fortune,  and  many  of 
them  becoming  wearied  with  the  wear  and  tear  of  commerce,  determined 
to  seek  fortunes  for  themselves  and  families  in  the  attractive  west. 

Dixon's  Ferry  on  Rock  River  had  been  reported'  to  some  of  these  fam- 
ilies as  being  the  central  point  of  the  most  beautiful  portion  of  the  great 
western  country  which  had  so  many  attractions  for  them,  and  to  this 
point  their  future  steps  were  directed^and  at  this  point  the  present 
flourishing  city  of  Dixon  is  located. 

One  of  these  families  was  that  of  Captain  Hugh  Graham,  formerly 
captain  of  one  of  the  Black  Ball  line  of  ocean  packets — the  ocean  grey- 
hounds of  that  day — who  settled  a  few  miles  down  the  north  side  of  the 
river  from  Dixon's  Ferry.  He  had  a  commanding  appearance  and  was 
very  choice  of  the  language  he  used.  An  acquaintance  from  Dixon  vis- 
iting him  one  day  at  his  farm  remarked  that  he  had  notseen  him  in  town 
for  a  long  time.  "No  sir,"  said  Captain  Graham,  "the  boundary  lines  of 
my  plantation  are  now  the  limits  of  my  peregrinations,  sir." 

Another  family  was  that  of  John  T.  Lawrence,  who  had  lately  grad- 

—  305  — 


uated  from  the  military  academy  of  West  Point— and  of  David  Law,  Sr. 
who  both  settled  close  neighbors  to  Captain  Graham.  Of  those  who 
settled  up  the  river  from  Dixon's  Ferry  were  the  Wetzler  and  Bradshaw 
families,  both  distinguished  for  their  high  social  relations  in  the  city  of 
New  York.  Of  the  young  unmarried  men  who  formed  part  of  this  colony 
of  refined  and  educated  families  were  Charles  F.  Hubbard  and  young 
friends,  familiarly  called  the  "Bluff  Boys,"  who  settled  down  the  south 
side  of  the  river  from  Dixon's  Ferry  a  few  miles;  and  Guy  Carleton  Bay- 
ley  and  his  brother  Richard  Bayley,  who  settled  up  the  river  on  the  south 
side  a  few  miles  from  Dixon's  Ferry.  These  young  men  were  brothers  of 
the  future  Archbishop  of  Newark,  N.  J  ,  and  connected  with  the  old 
Knickerbocker  families  of  New  York  City,  who  formed  the  Four  Hun- 
dred of  that  day. 

At  the  same  time— spring  of  1838 — and  in  the  same  company,  came 
also  a  young  man  who  afterwards  filled  the  most  prominent  position  in 
the  social  and  intellectual  life  of  Dixon  and  its  surrounding— Alexander 
Charters — universally  named  and  known  as  "the  Governor"  on  account 
of  his  handsome  and  commanding  appearance,  his  elegant  manners  and 
his  unrivaled  hospitality,  which  made  his  home,  named  Hazlewood,  a 
household  word  throughout  the  entire  western  country.  He  selected  for 
his  home  the  most  beautiful  spot  to  be  found  in  the  state  of  Illinois — 
three  miles  upstream  on  the  north  side  from  Dixon's  Ferry.  He  was  a 
widower  with  a  young  son,  James  B.  Charters,  then  seeking  his  education 
in  the  University  of  Dublin,  Ireland. 

Hazlewood  was  a  fine  estate  of  six  hundred  acres  and  the  hospitable 
mansion  was  situated  on  the  bank  of  the  river  at  an  elevation  of  one 
hundred  feet,  overlooking  one  of  the  most  charming  views  to  be  found 
upon  any  river  in  any  county. 

The  Governor's  hospitality  was  universal.  He  entertained  the  rich 
and  the  poor,  the  learned  and  the  unlearned,  the  titled  personages  and 
the  untitled,  with  the  same  warmth,  the  same  elegance  of  manner  and 
the  same  degree  of  dignity.  He  was  visited  by  every  distinguished  man 
and  woman  who  happened  to  pass  through  Dixon  and  its  vicinity.  His 
visitors  included  Stephen  A.  Douglas,  Abraham  Lincoln,  William  Cullen 
Bryant,  Margaret  Fuller,  Countess  of  Ossoli,  many  dignitaries  of  the 
church  and  state,  and  many  noblemen  from  abroad. 

It  was  a  common  remark  in  those  early  days,  when  anybody  inquired 
of  the  hotel  proprietor  in  Dixon  the  way  to  Hazlewood  he  was  told  to 
"cross  the  river  and  take  any  road  he  pleased,  that  they  all  led  to  Hazle- 
wood." 

—  306  — 


The  Governor  was  assisted  in  his  hospitable  duties  by  his  brother, 
Samuel  M.  Charters,  and  his  niece,  Fanny  Charters,  daughter  of  Samuel. 
She  was  eighteen  years  of  age  when  she  came  with  her  father  to  reside  at 
Ilazlewood,  and  being  a  most  beautiful  girl  and  of  fine  education,  she 
added  immensely  to  the  attractions  of  Ilazlewood.  Her  admirers  con- 
sisted of  all  the  marriageable  young  men  from  many  counties  around 
Dixon  and  she  shed  a  lustre  upon  the  society  of  that  early  day  which  is 
even  felt  to  the  present  time. 

The  Henshaw  family,  who  setiled  on  Rock  River  at  Oregon,  was  also 
a  part  of  this  little  community  which  moved  from  New  York  City  in  the 
spring  of  1838  to  Rock  River,  and  formed  a  very  interesting  portion  of  it, 
too.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Henshaw  had  two  daughters,  very  pretty  girls,  Emily 
and  Josephine.  Mr.  Henshaw  speaking  of  them  used  to  to  say,  ''Emily 
will  marry  for  an  establishment,  but  Josephine,  Josephine,  she  will  go 
for  the  heart."  \He  proved  to  be  a  true  prophet,  for  Emily  married  a  rich 
Mr.  Clark  of  Chicago,  for  whom  Clark  street  in  that  city  was  named,  and 
Josephine  gave  her  heart  to  Mr.  Joseph  Latshaw,  of  Princeton,  and  ever 
remained  a  happy,  loving  wife. 

Another  of  that  band  of  early  settlers  of  1837-38  was  John  Shillaber,  a 
native  of  Salem,  Massachusetts,  who  having  resided  abroad  for  several 
years  had  all  the  bearing  and  appearance  of  an  Englishman.  He  was  a 
man  of  large  means  for  those  days  and  settled  on  Pine  Creek,  near  Rock 
River,  a  few  miles  from  Dixon's  Ferry.  He  lived  alone  with  his  servants 
and  retainers  in  dignified  style  and  was  always  styled  My  Lord  Shillaber, 
and  treated  everybody  with  a  haughty  reserve.  When  meeting  an  ac- 
quaintance who  would  offer  his  hand  in  salutation  Lord  Shillaber  would 
graciously  present  the  forefinger  of  his  right  hand  and  allow  that  mem- 
ber to  be  shaken.  Occasionally  he  would  send  a  communication  to  the 
Salem  newspaper  Describing  the  beauty  and  magnificence  of  the  Rock 
River  scenery  and  of  the  prairies  surrounding  his  plantation.  According 
to  his  reports  the  game  upon  his  preserves  was  plentiful,  because  when 
he  wished  a  supply  he  would  go  out  and  knock  the  prairie  hens  over  with 
his  cane,  and  the  wild  turkeys  were  very,  very  abundant. 

To  recall  the  number  of  influential  people  who  came  in  early  days  to 
make  their  homes  in  Dixon  would  be  a  difficult  task.  Suffice  it  to  say 
that  their  descendants  at  the  present  time  speak  for  themselves— nowhere 
in  the  west  can  be  found  a  community  gifted  with  such  a  refined,  pol- 
ished, highly  educated  and  distinguished  looking  people  as  that  now 
dwelling  in  the  city  of  Dixon  and  its  environs.  OLI?  SETTLER. 


TBe  Magic 


SNAP   SHOTS  FROM  MEMORY. 


BY   J.  H.  MOORE. 


A 


MONG  the  improvements  of  the  age  but  few  things  have  made 
more  rapid  advancement  than  the  art  of  photography.  A  score  o 
years  ago  it  was  scarcely  classed  as  an  art,  and  a  photographer  was 
regarded  more  as  an  artisan  than  an  artist.  A  glance  at  the  pictures  of 
those  days  and  of  these  will  warrant  the  distinction.  The  early  produc- 
tions of  the  photographer's  skill  were  crude  affairs  and  unsatisfactory 
even  to  the  comparatively  uncultivated  taste  of  that  period.  The  con- 
centration and  diffusion  of  light  was  but  little  understood,  the  chemicals 
were  but  poorly  adapted  to  their  purpose,  and  the  operator  himself  was 
frequently  a  man  of  little  if  any  artistic  appreciation.  Then  it  took  sev- 
eral minutes'  exposure  to  secure  a  negative,  and  the  result  as  shown  in 
the  family  portraits  of  the  period  was  usually  a  stiff  figure,  partly  out  of 
focus,  one  side  in  bright  light  and  the  other  in  a  deep  shade,  and  the 
countenance  unnatural,  generally  expressionless.  Now  all  this  is  changed, 
and  by  the  instantaneous  process,  a  picture  is  taken  unerringly  true  to 
nature;  the  most  fleeting'shadow  of  a  smile  or  a  frown  is  caught  in  the 
twinkling  of  an  eye  and  the  very  grace  of  motion  is  almost  preserved. 

These  contrasts  were  vividly  presented  in  a  half  hour's  wandering 
through  the  oldest  gallery  in  this  part  of  the  country. 

There  is  a  little  sort  of  honeycomb  instrument  by  which  a  man  may 
be  multiplied  in  miniature  twenty-five  times  in  the  snap  of  a  finger, 
receiving  that  number  of  perfect  portraits  about  the  size  of  a  postage 
stamp,  while  from  yonder  closet  comes  life-size  portraits,  twenty  by 
twenty-four  inches  in  size. 

This  little  affair,  that  looks  something  like  a  spiritualist  cabinet,  is  a 
place  where  the  most  wonderful  feats  of  magic  are  performed.  Here  sits 
the  magician,  his  head  half  hidden  under  the  folds  of  a  dark  curtain, 
with  his  more  than  rnagic  pencil,  putting  hair  on  bald  heads  and  erasing 

—  308  — 


wrinkles  wrought  by  the  hand  of  time.  Faces  merely  comely  when  they 
go  in  here,  come  out  radiantly  beautiful;  faces  careworn  and  cross  are 
touched  with  beatific  serenity.  Moles  magically  disappear  into  dimples; 
and  freckled  faces  are  transformed  into  complexions  of  angelic  trans- 
parency. 

Here  is  a  chair,  simple  in  appearance,  but  with  some  half  dozen  at- 
tachments, clamps,  rests,  ball-sockets  and  swivel  joints,  capable  of  a 
hundred  transformations,  and  by  means  of  which  a  tired  mother'?  temper 
is  saved  from  explosion,  a  restless  baby  rendered  docile  and  happy,  and 
a  fat  and  frowning  child  transmogrified  into  a  smiling  cherub. 

But  all  the  magic  of  a  photograph  gallery  lies  not  in  apparatus.  Seated 
in  the  reception  parlors,  how  full  of  reminiscences  of  the  far  away  past 
are  the  pictured  walls  on  every  hand.  How  kindly  look  down  upon  us 
the  faces  of  thefriends  of  other  days.  The  sturdy  pioneers,  who  have 
long  since  moved  on  to  that  bourne  from  whence  no  traveler  returns, 
seem  to  belie  the  Shakespearian  adage  and  come  back  to  us  in  veritable 
reality. 

From  yonder  frame  look  out  the  calm  and  kindly  features  of  the  ven- 
erable John  Dixon,  father  and  founder  of  our  city,  whose  snow-white 
locks  fall  gracefully  over  his  broad  shoulders.  The  friend  and  counselor 
alike  of  the  white  man  and  the  red,  Nachusa  was  a  name  universally 
revered  and  beloved.  Yonder  is  Dr.  Everett,  another  grand  old  man, 
who  for  more  than  a  score  of  years  was  principal  medicine-man  of  the 
pale-faces  in  Northern  Illinois,  and  who  assisted  in  ushering  into  the 
world  most  of  those  earliest  to  the  manor  born. 

Over  there  is  Father  Whitney,  the  centenarian,  who  having  rounded 
his  hundred  well  spent  years  of  life,  passed  to  his  peaceful  death.  Old 
as  he  is,  there  remains  a  merry  twinkle  in  his  eyes  that  tells  that  for 
him  life  had  not  lost  its  enjoyment.  When  he  came  here  the  west  was  a 
vast  wilderness,  and  the  virgin  prairies  between  Dixon  and  his  Franklin 
home,  untouched  bv  the  plow,  was  one  vast  sea  of  emerald  green,  heaving 
with  billows  of  wild  blossoms  in  gorgeous  rainbow  tint.  Here  is  the 
portly  figure  and  genial  face  of  Governor  Charters  and  his  protege,  Geo. 
Foote.  How  they  speak  to  us  of  the  whole-hearted  hospitality  of  Hazle- 
wood— of  clays  and  nights  ever  to  be  remembered,  but  never  to  return. 
Here  are  James  L.  Camp  and  B.  F.  Burr,  who  for  so  many  years  between 
them  ran  the  politics  and  postoffice  of  Dixon.  There  is  Dr.  Gardner,  of 
Thompsonian  practice,  who  late  in  life  thought  himself  not  too  old  to 
follow  Greeley's  advice  to  young  men,  and  went  west  to  found  a  new 
home,  which  he  did  not  live  to  enjoy.  Here  is  McL.  Wadsworth,  who 

—  309  — 


having  escorted  hundreds  of  old  settlers  through  the  peaceful  portals  of 
Oakwood  cemetery,  at  last  himself  reclines  beneath  its  leafy  shades. 
There,  the  lips  firmly  set,  and  eyes  that  fairly  sparkle  with  animation,  is 
Col.  John  Dement,  the  hero  of  the  Black  Hawk  war  and  the  sturdy 
standard-bearer  of  Northern  Illinois  democracy,  whose  will  was  iron  and 
whose  heart  was  as  staunch  as  oak.  There  is  Hon.  Joseph  Crawford, 
with  features  more  mild  but  no  less  firm;  whose  feet  have  pressed  nearly 
every  foot  of  sod  in  Lee  and  surrounding  counties,  as  government  sur- 
veyor;*a  careful  business  man,  eminently  honest  and  universally  honored, 
conscientious  and  conservative,  a  wise  counselor  and  cultured  companion. 
Here  is  the  fine,  aristocratic  face  of  Judge  John  V.  Eustace,  tinged  with 
a  smile  of  slightly  sarcastic  humor.  With  a  heart  as  tender  as  a  child's 
and  a  soul  that  would  flash  into  instant  fiery  indignation  at  the  committal 
of  wrong  that  took  the  form  of  meanness,  be  it  against  friend  or  foe.  A 
man  who,  not  without  fault,  was  one  of  the  manliest  of  men. 

Here  is  the  lithe  figure  and  bright  features  of  the  suave  E.  B.  Stiles, 
who  could  refuse  a  man  a  favor  with  such  infinite  grace  that  the  solicitor 
would  retire  feeling  in  better  mood  than  if  almcst  anyone  else  had  com- 
plied with  his  request.  Isaac  S.  Boardman,  first  clerk  of  Lee  county, 
and  who  in  his  many  years  of  editorial  control  of  The  Telegraph  never 
told  quite  all  that  he  knew.  Isaac  Means,  his  implacable  enemy,  but  a 
man  who  beneath  a  brusk  exterior  hid  a  warm  and  generous  heart. 
Squires  Morgan,  Stevens  and  Bethea,  a  triumvirate  of  justices  of  the 
•olden  kind,~a  terror  to  wrong  doers.  Robert  F.  Lang,  whose  rugged  old 
Scotch  features  beam  with  energy,  honesty  and  an  iron  will,  and  whose 
handiwork,  as  endurable  as  his  sturdy  good  qualities,  is  seen  in  the  piers 
of  the  Dixon  bridge.  Col.  H.  T.  Noble,  one  of  Dixon's  early  educators,  a 
soldier  of  unimpeachable  patriotism^  man  of  fertile  brain  and  unbounded 
public  spirit.  Others  will  write  of  his  military  and  public  record,  but 
this  portrait  brings  out  a  dimly  developed  memory-picture  of  a  little 
stone  school-house  among  the  first  buildings  in  Dixon  constructed  of 
that  enduring  material.  Within  its  walls  the  first  teacher,  in  1848,  was 
James  Lum;  the  second,  in  1850,  Henry  T.  Noble.  On  each  side  of  the 
small  room — ample  enough,  however— along  the  wall  were  two  or  three 
rows  of  seats  and  primitive  desks.  At  one  end,  opposite  the  door,  was  a 
huge  fire-nlace,  up  the  capacious  chimney  of  which  in  winter  escaped 
nearly  all  the  heat  from  the  burning  logs  beneath.  To  the  left  was  the 
teacher's  desk,  the  receptacle  of  not  only  his  books,  but  of  our  marbles 
and  balls  and  apples  and  chewing  gum,  which  so  often  became  a  sort  of 
contraband  of  war.  On  the  seats  at  this  side  sat  the  girls.  (We  called 

—  310  — 


them  girls  in  those  days— young  ladies  you  would  call  thetn  now.)  Many 
of  them  I  can  recall  to  memory,  though  most  of  them  are  beyond  recall 
in  fact.  Jane  Ann  Herrick,  tall  and  queenly,  who  afterward  became 
the  wife  of  the  school  teacher  and  lost  her  life  in  the  terrible  bridge  acci- 
dent of  May  3,  1873.  Ann  Ophelia  Potter,  handsome  and  bright,  after- 
ward Mrs.  F.  A.  Soule.  The  Mead  sisters— Laura  and  Parmelia— the 
former  now  Mrs.  C.  J.  Reynolds,  of  Colorado  Springs,  the  latter  (Mrs. 
Hoffman)  also  a  victim  of  the  bridge  disaster.  There,  too,  sat  Franc 
Noble,  the  teacher's  cousin,  fat,  fair  and  full  of  frolic,  something  of  a 
totn-boy,  perhaps,  but  with  a  heart  bigger  than  any  boy's.  The  Ayers 
girls,  Libbie  and  Mary.  Henrietta  Dixon  and  Sarah  Elizabeth  McKen- 
ney,  first  and  second  children  to  the  manor  born.  Anna  Eustace,  now 
Mrs.  B.  F.  Shaw,  stately  and  dignified  even  in  her  young  girlhood.  These, 
with  many  others,  more  dimly  remembered,  were  the  lambs  who  sat  at 
the  teacher's  right,  while  at  his  left,  with  the  kids,  sat  Edward  and  Ed- 
win, the  twin  Sterlings,  who  were  so  much  alike  that  it  was  difficult  to 
avoid  punishing  one  for  the  misdeeds  of  the  other.  "Bird"  and  "Jim" 
Ayres;  Joe  MorrelJ,  the  embodiment  of  good-natured  mischief;  John 
Wealty,  now  in  Washington;  John  L.  Lord  and  his  brother  "Gus";  "Ep." 
Edson  and  "Eph."  Groh;  J.  D.  Messer,  who  was  always  with  Will 
Van  Amaru;  Henry  Dement  and  Oscar  McKenney.  To  all  of  us  in  those 
far-away  days  Henry  T.  Noble,  in  his  vigorous  young  manhood,  was  not 
only  a  teacher,  but  a  friend  and  companion. 

But  upon  the  gallery  walls  hang  other  pictures.  There  is  Col.  Silas 
Noble,  so  long  recorder  of  the  government  land  office,  who,  though  well 
advanced  in  life,  was  too  full  of  patriotic  fervor  to  remain  at  home  while 
younger  men  were  fighting  for  the  preservation  of  the  Union.  James 
Goble,  one  of  Lee  county's  early  sheriffs,  always  in  good  spirits,  fond  of  a 
good  story  and  a  good  laugh,  and  perhaps  for  that  reason  a  general  favor- 
ite with  the  young  folks.  E.  W.  Hine,  we  believe  Dixon's  first  or  second 
merchant  tailor,  who  nevertheless  was  very  much  more  than  the  "ninth 
Dart  of  a  man,"  being  a  refined  and  cultured  gentleman,  whose  home  in 
early  days  was  a  favorite  resort  for  congenial  spirits.  His  family  of  five 
has  now  no  living  representative. 

James  Van  Arnam,  whose  optical  organs  had  a  decidedly  intro- 
spective turn,  was  a  character  in  those  days,  who  is  said  to  have  said 
that  if  he  knew  that  he  had  a  drop  of  honest  blood  in  his  body  he  would 
open  his  veins  and  let  it  out.  "Jim,"  however,  was  the  self-constituted 
righter  of  many  wrongs  in  the  primitive  days,  and  marshalled  at  least 
one  party  to  tar  and  feather  a  man  for  the  ill-treatment  of  an  orphan 

—  311  — 


girl.  James  Hatch,  whose  picture  wears  a  pleasant  smile,  was  Dixon's 
first  baker,  who  in  1848  baked  all  the  crackers  and  hard  bread  for  Dixon's 
delegation  of  gold  hunters,  to  be  used  in  their  three  month's  trip  across 
the  plains.  These  were  baked  in  an  oven  in  the  basement  of  the  house 
still  occupied  by  Mr.  Hatch,  corner  of  Peoria  and  River  streets.  The 
upper  floor  was  then  occupied  as  a  dwelling  and  wagon  shop  by  the  fami- 
lies of  John  Moore  (father  of  the  writer)  and  E.  B.  Blackman,  and  well 
do  we  remember  seeing  E.  B.  Baker  and  others  of  the  California  crew  ride 
the  rail  with  which  they  worked  the  dough  to  a  proper  stiffness. 

There  is  Theron  Cumins,  emphatically  a  self-made  man,  who  laid  the 
foundation  of  his  fortune  in  the  suburban  village  of  Grand  Detour,  and 
is  now  at  the  head  of  the  oldest  and  most  extensive  manufacturing  com- 
pany in  the  city.  A  man  of  few  words,  but  whose  words  are  fraught  with 
forceful  meaning,  he  not  infrequently  reminds  us  of  General  Grant. 

Dr.  John  B.  Nash,  for  many  years  one  of  the  two  physicians  in  this 
region  of  country.  A  tall  and  intellectual  looking  man  of  pleasing  coun- 
tenance and  kindly  heart.  Retiring  from  practice,  he  opened  the  first 
drug  store  in  the  village.  He  became  one  of  the  early  students  of  and 
converts  to  the  spiritual  philosophy,  and  his  home  was  the  most  promi- 
nent rendezvous  of  its  exponents.  He  was  among  those  who  visited  Pike's 
Peak  during  the  gold  fever,  and  there  became  lost  to  his  familv  and 
friends— his  bones  probably  rest  in  some  unknown  spot  in  the  mountains 
of  Colorado. 

Oh,  there  is  John  W.  Clute,  who  half  a  century  ago  commenced  per- 
fecting the  soles  and  repairing  the  understanding  of  the  people  of  this 
community,  and  is  still  pegging  away,  the  first  and  the  last  of  the  wor- 
shippers at  the. shrine  of  St.  Crispen,  his  useful  career  has  not  yet  waxed 
to  an  end.  While  he  pounds  his  lapstone  he  can  relate  in  detail  most  of 
the  local  incidents  in  the  lapse  of  time  since  1840. 

Here  hangs  a  portrait  of  Henry  K.  Strong,  of  the  township's  constab- 
ulary, who  with  James  C.  Mead  and  the  writer  divides  the  honor  of  set- 
ting type  for  the  first  paper  printed  in  Lee  county,  May  1,  1851.  It  was 
the  Dixon  Telegraph,  still  hale  and  hearty  in  its  forty-second  year.  The 
wife  of  the  editor  (Mrs.  Chas.  R.  Fisk),  was,  in  all  probability,  the  first 
woman  who  set  type  on  any  paper  in  this  part  of  the  country.  The  print- 
ing office  was  over  the  store  of  Little  &  Brooks,  now  D.  W.  McKenney's 
livery  stable  on  River  street,  and  The  Telegraph,  after  many  removals,  has 
returned  to  within  a  half  block  of  its  birthplace,  the  writer  still  occas- 
ionally taking  a  hand  at  the  case. 

Here  is  W.  W.  Heaton,  one  of  the  earliest  judges  of  the  circuit  court 
of  Lee  county,  a  man  small  of  statue,  but  of  broad  culture,  solid  rather 

—  312  — 


than  brilliant,  slow  but  sure.  Well  do  we  remember  the  accident  by 
which  he  was  deprived  of  his  second  wife— one  of  the  first  fatal  accidents 
to  occur  in  Dixon.  Mrs.  Heaton,  her  son  and  infant  daughter  were  re- 
turning from  a  drive.  The  horse  became  suddenly  frightened  and 
unmanagable  by  his  boy  driver.  The  carriage  was  overturned,  and  the 
mother,  rendered  helpless  in  her  endeavor  to  shield  her  babe,  was  thrown 
violently  against  the  corner  of  the  Methodist  Episcopal  church  (now  the 
residence  of  J.  W.  Kent)  and  was  instantly  killed. 

Joseph  Cleaver,  almost  forgotten  perhaps,  came  to  Dixon  in  1845,  and 
was  postmaster  in  1854,  dying  in  July  of  that  year,  one  of  the  first  (I 
think  the  very  first)  victims  of  the  cholera  epidemic. 

There  is  the  brawny,  black-eyed  J.  M.  Cropsey,  the  veteran  Vulcan  of 
the  village,  who  was  equally  skilled  in  forging  a  horse-shoe  or  spinning  a 
yarn,  and  whose  fertile  imagination  might  have  earned  him  the  title  of 
the  Jules  Verne  of  the  West.  Not  far  off  is  a  picture  of  David  Welty, 
who  came  from  Buffalo,  New  Vork.  in  the  spring  of  1838,  and  for  many 
years  was  "mine  host"  of  one  of  the  earliest  hostleries,  the  Western 
Hotel,  which  by  another  name  still  stands  on  Hennepin  avenue. 

Oh,  here  we  have  a  galaxy  of  distinguished  individuals  —  a  sort  of 
•'Lincoln  cabinet"  picture  in  fact.  The  central  figure  is  "Deacon" 
Quartus  Ely,  and  he  is  surrounded  by  a  coterie  of  a  dozen  choice  spirits, 
not  all  old  settlers,  and  several  of  them  already  mentioned.  There  is 
Hal.  Williams,  a  brilliant  young  lawyer;  Ferris  Finch,  an  artist  who 
buried  his  capital  talent  under  a  government  appointment  at  the  capital; 
Ozias  Wheeler,  one-time  sheriff  of  Lee  county;  James  L.  Camp,  Dixon's 
best  known  postmaster;  P.  M.  Alexander,  the  pioneer  hardware  dealer; 
the  two  Benjamins— "Andy"  and  "Jim";  L.  A.  Divine,  Judge  Welty,  B. 
F.  Shaw,  the  veteran  editor  of  the  Northwest;  Henry  Becker  and  Isaac 
Boardman,  an  apt  follower  of  his  partial  namesake,  Izaak  Walton,  and  a 
disciple  of  Nimrod.  In  the  days  of  auld  lang  syne  this  cabinet  met  in 
frequent  session,  and  shrouded  in  vaporous  wreaths  arising  from  choice 
Havanas  or  less  aristocratic,  but  more  maladorous  "kinnekennick,"  its 
members  oft  discussed  the  chequered  affairs  of  life.  Even  kings  and 
queens,  as  well  as  knaves,  were  admitted  to  thfese  sessions.  As  in  the 
outside  world,  hearts  were  sometimes  exchanged  for  diamonds,  and  clubs 
and  spades  were  frequently  found  in  opposition.  Ah,  is  it  true  that  in  the 
game  of  life  spades  always  win?  They  have  turned  the  sod  upon  the 
graves  of  most  of  "Deacon"  Ely's  cabinet;  but  it  may  be  that  with  "the 
great  majority"  they  are  now  engaged  in  the  discussion  of  weightier 
themes.  Let  us  hope  so.  as  we  turn  their  pictured  faces  to  the  wall. 

—313— 


MRS.   E.    B   BAKER. 


Mr*.  E.  B. 


Mrs.  E.  B.  Baker,  the  subject  of  this  little  sketch,  was  the  first  white 
child  who  crossed  Bock  River.  She  was  born  on  Fancy  Creek,  six  miles 
from  Springfield,  Illinois,  in  March  1827.  Her  father,  Mr.  Kellogg,  was 
appointed  to  lay  out  a  road  between  Peoria  and  Galena,  where  the  land 
office  was  then  situated.  This  he  did  in  1828,  and  it  was  known  as  Kel- 
logg's  trail,  and  was  the  only  thoroughfare  between  the  central  portion 
of  the  state  and  Galena.  In  the  spring  many  people  made  their  way  to 
the  lead  mines  over  this  route,  as  the  mining  fever  was  at  its  hight,  and 
in  autumn  emigrated  southward  again  with  the  birds.  At  one  time 
quite  a  large  party,  men,  women  and  children,  forded  the  river  near 
here  in  their  wagons.  The  young  men  of  the  party  considered  this  a  fine 
opportunity  to  go  bathing,  and,  as  the  wagon  train  passed  on,  disrobed 
and  disported  themselves  for  some  time  in  the  crystal  waters.  At  last, 
realizing  that  the  time  was  passing,  they  returned  to  the  bank,  only  to 
find  that  not  a  vestige  of  their  clothing  remained.  The  Indians  had 
crept  up  and  .stolen  every  garment,  and  they  were  forced  to  follow  on 
after  tha  wagon  train  in  a  state  of  nature.  In  laying  out  the  trail  Mr. 
Kellogg  was  so  delighted  with  the  northern  part  of  the  state  that  he 
determined  to  take  up  a  claim,  the  same  known  in  history  as  "Kellogg's 
Grove,"  and  in  1829  moved  his  family  there.  In  1831  the  Dixons,  to  whom 
he  was  related,  having  located  at  "Dixon's  Ferry,"  and  strongly  urging 
him  to  settle  near  them,  he  moved  to  Buffalo  Grove,  where  for  some 
years  he  kept  a  public  house.  There  were  but  four  large  rooms  in  the 
house,  but  no  other  "tavern"  being  within  many  miles,  they  sometimes 
accommodated  as  many  as  fifty  in  one  night;  beds  being  laid  all  over  the 
floors,  while  some  slept  wrapped  in  their  blankets,  thankful  to  be  under 
the  shelter  of  a  roof.  When  the  rush  to  the  mines  set  in  they  would 
often  serve  as  many  as  two  hundred  extra  meals  in  a  day,  of  which  Mrs. 
Baker,  then  a  child  wouldikeep  count  with  kernels  of  corn.  Three  times 
were  the  family  forced  to  leave  their  home  on  account  of  expected 
Indian  outbreaks;  once  during  the  Blackhawk  war,  once  previous  and 
another  time  later.  Mr.  Kellogg  served  as  a  scout  or  guide  during  the 
time  of  that  war. 

—  317  — 


It  was  no  uncommon  occurrence  for  the  Dixon  children  to  drive  to 
Buffalo  Grove  in  the  early  morning  and  breakfast  with  the  Kellogg 
family.  One  night  there  had  been  a  very  heavy  frost  which  covered  the 
thick  prairie  grass  as  with  snow,  so  the  Dixon  boys  thought  it  would  be 
a  grand  idea  to  have  a  sleigh  ride,  and  they  "hitched  up"  and  drove  to 
their  uncle's  before  the  frost  melted.  No  record  is  left  of  the  manner  in 
which  they  returned  home. 

The  wolves  were  a  source  of  great  annoyance  to  the  Kelloggs,  often 
killing  a  calf  or  a  pig  before  rescue  could  come  from  the  house.  A 
favorite  dog  deserted  them  for  the  companionship  of  a  pack  of  wolves. 
He  came  back  some  time  later,  displaying  a  most  sneaking,  abject 
appearance,  but  did  not  remain  long,  for  in  a  few  days  he  returned  to 
the  companions  of  his  adoption.  I  have  heard  it  related  that  an  uncle 
of  my  own,  while  plowing,  was  sometimes  followed  by  wolves  which 
would  devour  the  mice  turned  up  by  the  plow  in  the  furrow. 

Mrs.  Kellogg  was  greatly  troubled  at  the  lack  of  educational  advant- 
ages for  children,  and  made  every  effort  to  secure  the  best  instruction 
those  early  days  afforded.  One  winter  ''Father  Dixon"  would  hire  a 
teacher  to  come  to  his  house,  and  the  Kellogg  children  attended  that 
school;  the  next  winter  the  teacher  would  hold  forth  at  Mr.  Kellogg's, 
and  the  Dixon  children  would  go  there.  Mrs.  Baker  attended  school  one 
year  at  Gaatiot's  Grove  near  Galena. 

In  1845  she  was  married  to  Eli  B.  Baker,  and  the  year  following  they 
came  to  Dixon  to  live;  their  home  being  the  A.  S.  Dimick  house  on  the 
corner  of  Main  and  Ottawa  streets.  1849  Mr.  Baker  went  to  California 
with  many  others  whom  the  recent  gold  discoveries  had  drawn  thither. 
Mrs.  Baker  was  put  to  sore  straits  sometimes  to  provide,  lor  herself  and 
little  family  while  he  was  pursuing  his  long,  weary  way  across  the  con- 
tinent, bnt  after  his  arrival  fortune  favored  him,  and  he  was  enabled  to 
send  home  the  means  with  which  to  provide  a  home  of  their  own,  and 
during  his  absence  Mrs.  Baker  built  the  house  on  the  corner  of  Boyd 
street  and  north  Ottawa  avenue,  now  owned; — I  think — by  Rufus 
Forsyth.  Some  years  later  she  became  associated  with  Mrs.  Jane  Little 
in  the  millinery  and  dress-making  business,  which  was  carried  on 
successfully  for  some  years. 

Mrs.  Baker  was  ever  ready  to  go  to  the  assfctance  of  the  sick — at  one 
time  taking  care  of  a  cholera  patient  prior  to  the  epidemic,  until  death 
ensued.  Latterly,  during  some  years  she  adopted  the  profession  ol 
nurse,  and  how  excellent  she  is  in  that  capacity  can  be  certified  to  bj 
many  who  have  received  her  unremitting  care.  She  has  been  a  woman  "of 

—  318  — 


sorrow  and  acquainted  with  grief,"  for  of  her  five  children  but  one 
remains — her  youngest,  an  invalid  son,  to  whom  she  devotes  her  life. 
Two  of  her  children  met  their  death  in  the  terri^e  bridge  disaster  of 
1873.  We,  in  whose  midst  she  has  lived  these  many  years  appreciate  her 
worth,  and  know  how  bravely  she  has  borne  all  her  afflictions. 


Most  of  the  old  settlers  are  familiar  with  the  following  story,  of  which 
I  have  heard  two  versions,  both  having  the  same  tragical  termination, 
but  I  give  the  one  which  I  have  heard  the  oftener.  Invitations  were  out 
for  a  party,  and  Susan  Murray,  who  was  quite  a  belle  at  that  time,  had 
sent  fora  pair  of  white  satin  slippers,  one  of  which  she  found  she  could 
not  wear  on  account  of  a  troublesome  corn.  She  impatiently  exclaimed 
"if  I  only  had  a  chisel  I  would  cut  the  toe  off,"  whereupon  "Jim"  Ben- 
jamin, who  was  standing  near  and  had  overheard  her,  most  obligingly 
procured  a  chisel  for  her.  She  then  asked  him  to  strike  the  chisel  with 
a  hammer  while  she  held  the  instrument.  This  he  refused  to  do,  but 
offered  to  hold  the  chisel  while  she  did  the  striking  act,  thinking  it  only 
a  joke,  and,  upon  carrying  out  his  part  of  the  proposed  program  was  sur- 
prised to  see  her  strike  so  vigorous  a  blow  as  to  sever  the  toe  completely 
from  the  foot. 


In  the  early  years  there  lived  here  a  man  whose  wife  was  sadly 
addicted  to  the  use  of  intoxicants,  and  when  indulging  in  one  of  her 
sprees  was  a  source  of  terror  to  the  neighborhood.  One  evening  a  party 
of  young  men  found  her  laying  on  the  street  sleeping  off  the  effects  of 
the  liquor  she  had  imbibed.  They  produced  a  board,  on  which  they 
bound  her  firmly  from  shoulders  to  feet,  and  then  carried  her  over  the 
river  to  her  home,  which  was  situated  in  what  is  now  known  as  "Parson's 
Addition,"  and  there  set  the  board  upon  end  at  the  side  of  the  door.  I 
will  not  give  the  names  of  the  young  men,  for  some  of  them  still  reside 
here,  and  are  now  very  dignified  elderly,  professional  and  business  men, 
and  might  regard  it  as  not  a  good  example  to  their  sons,  as  well  as  taking 
a  great  liberty  with  their  names. 

There  is  a  story,  too,  of  one  time  when  a  number  of  the  older  boys 
went  hunting  or  skating  up  the  river  and  killed  a  muskrat,  whereupon 
someone — my  informant  thought  Noah  Brooks — wrote  up  the  affair  in 
startling  characters  as  the  murder  of  an  innocent,  unoffending  citizen  of 
a  neighboring  settlement,  Amos  Krat  by  name,  whereat  some  of  the 

—  319  — 


good  fathers,  who  knew  that  their  sons  were  of ,  the  party  \  (especially 
Uncle  Fred  MoKinney),  were  greatly  alarmed  lest  their  boys  would  be 
implicated  in  the  direful  punishment  which  was  sure  to  follow. 


Another  one  refers  to  a  time  when  paper,  for  some  reason,  was  not  to 
be  had  for  the  weekly  issue  of  the  only  Dixon  paper,  and  it  came  out  on 
pink  and  yellow  sheets  about  the  size  of  a  farm  sale  bill,  with  the  motto 
"Smaller  by  degrees  and  beautifully  less;  fret  not'thy  gizzard." 


Andrew  .T.  Brubaker  can  be  classed  among  the  old  settlers,  as  he  came 
here  in  1849.  He  made  his  advent  here  on  foot,  having  walked  from  his 
father's  farm  on  Pine  Creek,  a  distance  of  ten  miles,  and  carrying  bis 
wardrobe  in  a  red  bandana  handkerchief.  When  he  arrived  at  Rock 
Eiver  he  found  the  bridge  gone.  In  response  to  his  "hello"  Mr.  Alexan- 
der came  across  the  river  and  rowed  him  over  in  a  skiff.  He  and  the  above 
mentioned  gentleman  were  employed  at  the  same  time,  and  for  some 
years  in  Mr.  Brook's  store.  Upon  Mr.  Brooks'  retirement  from  the  gen- 
eral merchandise  business,  Mr.  Alexander  set  up  in  the  hardware  line, 
and  Mr.  Brubaker  continued  in  that  branch  of  the  business  with  which 
he  was  most  familiar.  Of  all  the  business  men  here  in  1855  only  these 
two  gentlemen,  with  Mr.  Eells  and  Mr.  W.  J.  Carpenter,  continue  in  the 
business  in  which  they  were  originally  engaged.  J.  C.  Ayers,  who  at  that 
time  had  a  hat  and  cap  store,  is  still  in  business,  but  of  a  different  nature. 
The  flattering  attention  with  which  Mr.  Brubaker  now  waits  upon  the 
ladies  is  due  to  the  early  training  which  he  received  in  Mr.  Brooks'  store, 
as  he  thus  describes  it:  "In  Mr.  Books'  store  the  millinery  department 
was  the  hardest  to  learn  and  get  along  with.  It  was  no  small  task  to  fix 
one  of  those  old-fashioned  'prairie  schooner'  bonnets  on  a  lady,  and  triiH 
it  up  with  ribbons,  flowers  and  feathers  to  match,  and  then  tell  her  that 
she  looked  beautiful,  and  that  it  became  her  very  nicely,  but  1  got  there 
after  awhile."  Mr.  Brubaker  has  always  been  much  interested  in  music, 
and  has  probably  sung  at  more  funerals  than  any  other  inhabitant  of 
Lee  county.  He  organized  the  first  Methodist  choir,  and  was  its  leader 
for  a  number  of  years.  Up  to  that  time  congregational  singing  had  been 
in  vogue,  sometimes  one  pitching  the  tune,  again  another;  often  it  woul"d 
be  pitched  too  high,  or  very  much  the  reyerse;  frequently  they  would  get 
the  wrong  meter  and  utter  confusion  ensue.  One  old  settler  used  to  say, 
"they  first  screwed  on  one  tune,  and  if  that  did  not  fit,  they  would  screw 
on  another."  Mr.  Brubaker  had  much  trouble  in  persuading  the  old  fogy 
members  and  deacons  to  allow  him  to  organize  a  choir,  but  later  on  they 

—  320  — 


conceded  that  it  was  a  great   improvement,  and   showed    no  desire  to 
return  to  the  old  way.- 

In  1851  the  first  brass  band,  composed  of  eighteen  members, was  organ- 
ized, of  whom  Mr.  Brubaker  and  Mr.  13.  F.  Shaw  are  the  only  representa- 
tives remaining  at  Ilie  present  day,  the  others  having  passed  away  or 
gone  to  "pastures  new."  Mr.  Shaw  played  the  bugle  and  was  for  some 
time  leader  of  the  band.  The  writer  of  this  is  unable  to  positively  assert 
that  the  stagnation  in  the  growth  of  Dixon  wasdue  solely  to  the  music  (?) 
thus  evolved  by  Mr.  Shaw  as  bandmaster,  but  if  so,  his  genial  disposition 
has  eventually  overcome  the  terrifying  effects  of  the  bugle  blowing  of 
long  ago,  and  timid  strangers  are  now  venturing  to  make  Dixon  their 
home,  just  as  i'f  no  awful  sounds  had  once  put  to  flight  everything  human 
within  hearing. 

I  have  picked  up  many  good  stories  about  "Andrew,"  but  he  says  they 
are  not  true,  and  seriously  objects  to  their  publication,  so  I  must  content 
myself  with  the  only  one  to  which  he  "owns  up."  Tallow  candles  were 
used  in  Mr.  Brooks'  store  in  addition  to  lamps,  and  it  was  bne  of  Mr. 
Brubaker's  duties  to  light  up.  On  a  first  of  April  Henry  Webb,  who  was 
the  insoigator  of  most  of  the  mischief  on  foot,  proposed  that  Andrew  be 
"April-fooled,  and  invited  all  the  boys  to  come  and  see  the  fun.  Fiae 
imitations  of  candles  were  made  out  of  potatoes  and  placed  in  the  candle- 
sticks. Evening  came,  and  with  it  a  goodly  crowd  of  the  boys,  and  not 
long  after  their  eyes  were  gladdened  by  the  ineffectual  attempts  of  our 
friend  to  light  first  one  candle  and  then  another.  At  each  failure  the 
unrighteous  laughed,  and  he,  becoming  flustered,  finally  exclaimed,  "My 
goodness,  I  can't  make  these  candles  light."  Roars  of  laughter  and 
shouts  of  "April  fool"  sounded  on  all  sides,  Andrew  says  he  took  the 
joke  well  and  only  remarked  good  naturedly,  "Well,  boys,  that  is  all 
right,  but  you  can't  play  that  trick  on  me  again." 


One  incident  which  occurred  in  those  early  years  I  think  worthy  of 
relating,  concerning  a  shoemaker  by  the  name  of  Daniel  Cuppernell.  He 
was  an  extremely  profane  man,  and  one  day  while  he  and  a  companion 
were  at  work  at  their  trade  in  the  basement  of  a  house  which  stood  on 
the  south  side  of  Main  street,  near  the  corner  of  Peoria,  a  Heavy  thunder- 
storm camp  up.  The  Hashes  of  lightning  were  so  vivid,  and  the  roll  of 
"Heaven's  artillery"  so  incessant  that  the  other  man  expressed  some  fear. 
Cuppernell,  with  a  terrible  oath,  said,  "Let  God  Almighty  do  his  worst, 
I'm  not  afraid  of  him."  No  sooner  were  the  words  uttered  than  a  bolt  of 

-  321  — 


lightning  came  down  the  chimney,  killing  him  instantly,  while  his  com- 
panion escaped  unhurt. 


Mrs.  James  A.  Watson  (Susan  Clute),  was  quite  noted  for  her  beauty 
as  a  girl,  and  at  one  time  was  the  acknowledged  belle  of  Dixon.  She  was 
very  public-spirited  also,  and  it  is  said  that  she,  together  with  some 
other  young  ladies  (probably  more  for  sport  than  aught  else),  accom- 
plished some  quite  successful  campaigning  for  William'.Henry  Harrison 
in  1840. 

One  person  well  known  to  all  is  Adam  Scheer.     His  father  came  to 

* 

Dixon  in  1845  with  his  family.  They  were  not  long  from  Germany  and 
could  speak  but  a  few  words  in  English.  Two  weeks  after  their  arrival 
here  Mr.  Scheer  died.  At  that  time  they  were  living"on  a  farm-  known 
as  the  Warn  place,  west  of  town.  The  family  had  a  great  deal  of  sick- 
ness the  first  year  or  two,  and  one  summer  when  Mrs.  Scheer  was  sick 
with  a  fever,  a  neighbor  going  there  to  offer  assistance,  found  little 
Adam  his  mother's  nurse,  and  she,  poor  soul,  in  a  burning  fever  was 
carefully  covered  by  a  feather  bed,  as  well  as  laying  upon  one,  according 
to  the  German  custom.  The  lady  had  this  removed  and  by  whatever 
means  were  at  hand,  soon  managed  to  have  her  more  comfortable.  When 
Adam  was  eleven  years  old  he  went  to  live  with  Mr.  arid  Mrs.  J.  T. 
Little.  After  they  moved  out  on  their  farm  he  worked  there  during 
the  summer,  but  in  the  winter  he  would  come  to  town  and  work  for  his 
board  and  attend  school,  that  he  might  receive  the  benefit  of  the  better 
educational  advantages  afforded  here.  In  1849  his  two  elder  brothers 
went  to  California,  leaving  Adam  his  mother's  stay  and  support  until  her 
death,  which  occurred  during  the  cholera  epidemic  in  1854.  Adam  was 
somewhat  superstitious  and  of  a  timid  disposition  in  his  young  days. 
The  writer  hereof  knew  of  his  great  fear  of  ghosts  and  when  a  small 
child  succeeded  in  giving  him  a  fright  which  he  remembers  to  this  day. 
She  arose  in  the  very  early  aiorning  before  it  was  fairly  light  and  hid 
herself  at  the  back  of  the  woodpile,  where  she  knew  he  would  soon  come 
for  wood  for  the  kitchen  fire.  When  he  had  filled  his  arms,  she  sprang 
out,  Happing  her  nightdress  wildly.  Adam  gave  a  shriek,  threw  the 
wood  down  and  made  good  use  of  his  heels  until  safe  shelter  of  the 
kitchen  was  reached.  I'll  never  tell  what  happened  to  the  little  girl  but 
simply  say  that  from  that  time  on  she  never  tried  to  frighten  Adam. 

All  who  know  him  know  how  faithful  he  is  to  every  trust  reposed   in 
him.     He  is  an  efficient  worker  in  the  Baptist  church,  and  on  Memorial 

-  322  - 


day  what  would  we  do  without  Adam?  He  is  never  absent  from  his  post 
of  duty  and  having  served  in  the  army,  his  heart  and  soul  are  in  the  work. 

As  in  all  newly  settled  countries,  the  beaux  were  so  much  more  num- 
erous here  that  every  girl  within  twenty  miles  was  in  great  demand 
when  a  dance  was  to  be  given.  There  was  one  family  in  the  "Kingdom" 
where  there  were  two  or  three  daughters,  but  owing  to  the  violent  tem- 
per and  stinging  tongue  of  their  mother,  the  young  men  were  extremely 
shy  of  bringing  upon  their  heads  the  wrath  and  sound  berating  of  the 
matron,  which  invariably  followed  their  appearance  upon  the  scene,  so 
they  were  wont  to  draw  cuts  to  decide  which  would  be  the  victim,  the 
shortest  straw  being  the  herald  of  doom.  He  who  was  so  unfortunate  as 
to  have  drawn  it  would  take  his  life  in  his  hand  and  heavy  of  heart  pro- 
ceed on  his  way  to  invite  the  young  lady. 

The  Tallmadges  were  well  known  here  in  the  early  days,  having  come 
in  1835.  He  wa-s  a  venerable-looking  old  man  with  snow-white  hair  and 
beard,  but  very  much  disfigured  by  a  hare-lip.  He  usually  wore  black 
clothes,  the  coat  (like  "old  Grimes'"  of  nursery  lore)  "all  buttoned  up  be- 
fore," and  a  high  silk  hat.  A  small  child,  seeing  him  pass  the  house  one 
day,  called:  "Oh!  mother,  come  quick,  there  goes  our  Heavenly  Father." 
Mrs.  Tallmadge  was  much  younger  than  her  husband,  and  in  many  ways 
an  excellent  woman,  but  possessed  of  many  fancied  ailments  from  which 
she  was  always  sure  she  was  going  to  die  and  sending  for  the  doctor  in 
hot  haste  without  the  least  necessity.  "Tell  it  not  in  Gath,"  but  I  have 
heard  it  whispered  that  Dr.  Everett  kept  an  excellent  quality  of  bread 
pills  on  hand  for  patients  of  that  description  which  always  proved  so 
efficacious  that  a  speedy  cure  was  sure  to  follow. 

Mrs.  John  Brown,  then  a  girl,  was  at  Mrs.  Tallmadge's  and  one  evening 

was  taken  very  sick  and  the  doctor  was  scot  for  but  failed  to  put  in  an 
appearance.  A  still  more  imperative  summons  just  as  day  was  dawning 
brought  him— about  ten  o'clock.  Mrs.  Tallmadge  met  him  at  the  door, 
fairly  bombarding  him  with  reproaches,  and  wound  up  by  saying:  "Why 
Dr.  Everett,  you  ought  to  be  ashamed  of  yourself:  you  have  a  very  sick 
patient  in  there  (indicating  the  bedroom),  I  can  tell  you."  Regarding 
her  with  some  amazement,  the  doctor  replied  in  his  deliberate  manner: 
"Why,  Mrs.  Tallmadge,  I  thought  it  was  you  and  I  knew  there  was  no 
liurry.'! 


There  is  another  story  of  a  man  who  was  not  always  strictly  honest. 
He  went  intotyr.  Brooks'  store  (so  my  informant  said)  qnp  day,  and 


ing  himself  unobserved,  confiscated  some  butter,  which,  like  "Hantly 
Andy,"  he  placed  in  his  hat.  A  clerk,  who  had  witnessed  the  act,  spoke 
to  some  others  who  were  in  the  store,  asking  their  aid  in  carrying  out  a 
plan  for  the  culprit's  undoing:  so  as  Mr.  S.  came  forward  with  most  inno- 
cent meiri,  they  gathered  about  him  talking  and  laughing,  and  finally 
hemmed  him  into  a  corner  near  the  stove.  Someone  complained  of  feel- 
ing very  cold  and  the  wood  was  thrown  on  the  fire  with  no  sparing  hand, 
so  that  soon  the  room  became  very  warm  and  poor  Mr.  S.  was  in  the 
warmest  place,  in  fact,  almost  "too  hot  to.  hold  him.''  What  is  that 
stealing  slowly  down  his  cheeks,  trickling  clown  his  nose,  bedewing  his 
forehead  and  matting  his  hair'-'  Butter!  yes,  butter — rivers  of  butter. 
Surely  "the  way  of  the  transgressor  is  hard." 

One  time  when  work  was  in  progress  upon  the  Illinois  Central  rail- 
road, Dixon  was  threatened  with  a  serious  riot.  One  or  two  of  the  gang 
of  workmen  had  been  arrested  and  placed  in  jail,  whereat  their  comrades 
were  very  much  incensed  and  they  struck  work,  inarched  in  a  body  to  the 
town  threatening  to  burn  it.  This  catastrophe  was  averted  by  Prophet 
Myres,  who  missed  no  opportunity  for  making  a  speech,  and  as  they  came 
in  line  across  the  bridge,  he  beheld  an  audience  ready  at  hand,  such  as  it 
was  rarely  his  good  fortune  to  meet.  Mounting  a  dry  goods  box  on  the 
corner  opposite  Mrs.  Baker's  present  home,  he  began  a  characteristic 
harangue,  and  soon  had  the  mob  in  such  a  good  humor  that  they  entirely 
forgot  their  errand  of  vengeance  and  when  he  was  through  quietly  dis- 
persed, much  to  the  relief  </f  the  citizens,  who  fearing  the  worst,  had 
armed  themselves  to  defend  their  hoiues. 


I  have  been  told  the  story  of  how  one  fearless  woman  saved  her  home 
from  claim  jumpers.  Otis  Loveland  came  here  in  1837  and  took  up  the 
claim  since  known  as  the  Loveland. farm,  and  with  his  wife  and  two  young 
children  lived  in  a  small  house  where  the  milk  factory  now  stands.  In 
those  days  there  was  the  same  lawless  element  here  that  we  read  of  in 
the  west,  peculiar  to  all  newly  settled  countries,  and  claim-jumping  was 
not  by  any  means  an  unheard-of  occurrence.  One  day  when  Mr.  Loveland 
was  away  from  home  three  or  four  men  armed  themselves  intending  to 
jump  the  claim,  anticipating  no  opposition.  Mrs.  Loveland  saw  them  at 
a  little  distance,  and  having  been  informed  of  their  intentions,  deter- 
mined to  thwart  their  plans.  She  placed  a  rocking  chair  across  the  open 
door  and  taking  her  knitting  in  her  hand,  calmly  seated  herself  to  await 
their  coming.  When  they  reached  the  house  they  told  her  to  move  out 

—  324  — 


of  the  way,  for  they  wanted  that  claim  and  were  going  to  have  it,  too. 
She  replied:  "You  shall  not  step  one  foot  inside  this  house  unless  you 
first  pass  over  my  dead  body."  1  suppose  they  did  not  quite  care  to  kill 
her,  for  they  finally  departed,  swearing  as  they  went.  This  lady  was  the 
step-mother  of  Mrs.  J.  B.  Brooks. 

When  Mrs.  Brocks  (then  Ophelia  Loveland)  taught  school  in  the 
"Bend"  she  received  the  enormous  salary  of  one  dollar  and  a  quarter  per 
week  and  "boarded  around."  This  was  not  a  very  great  hardship  as  the 
people,  in  most  instances,  were  pleasant  and  kind,  but  there  were  two  or 
three  exceptions  where  the  housewives  were  poor  cooks  arid  their  houses 
none  too  cleanly.  One  place  the  children  bragged  of  what  good  things 
thev  were  going  to  have  to  eat  when  the  teacher  came  thereto  board. 
The  "good  things"  resolved  themselves  into  dried  apple  and  peach  pies, 
which  were  made  without  first  stewing  the  fruit.  If  not  quite  to  the 
taste  made  in  this  way,  they  may  have  proved  filling,  particularly  with 
fluid  accompaniment. 

Another  place  the  teacher  was  awakened  at  break  of  day  and  sewing 
laid  out  for  her  until  school  time,  and  as  soon  as  she  returned  she  was  set 
at  work  again  until  bedtime.  At  the  end  of  the  week  this  thrifty  matron 
returned  no  thanks,  but  only  expressed  regret  that  Mrs.  Brooks  "could 
not  stay  long  enough  to  make  Susanna  a  dress."  A  child  in  this  same 
family  died  while  Mrs.  Brooks  was  teaching  in  the  neighborhood,  and 
the  balance  of  the  children  were  put  into  deep  mourning,  consisting  of 
black  calico  ruffles  worn  around  each  child's  neck. 

Mrs.  Brooks  saved  enough  money  from  her  school  teaching  to  buy  a 
quarter  section  of  land  in  Wisconsin,  which  she  afterward  sold  for  four 
hundred  dollars  to  assist  her  husband  in  buying  their  home  on  Galena 
street,  where  Mr.  Tillson's  store  now  is,  reserving,  however,  the  price  of 
a  half-do/en  silver  spoons  which  she  "was  bound  to  have."  She  was  a 
kind-hearted,  hospitable  woman,  never  so  happy  as  when  entertaining 
her  friends.  One  time  during  the  early  days  of  the  war  her  sister,  Mrs. 
Tludd  (well-known  to  many  old  settlers),  was  visiting  her  and  Mrs.  Brooks 
gave  a  tea  party  in  her  honor.  Mrs.  Rudd  was  a  very  strong  abolitionist, 
in  fact,  kept  a  station  on  the  underground  railway  in  the  southern  part 
of  the  state.  Some  of  the  guests  at  the  party  were  what  was  termed 
"copperheads"  in  those  days.  Mrs.  Rudd  was  an  extremely  outspoken 
woman  and  not  prone  to  "hide  her  light  under  a  bushel,"  or  her  opinions 
either.  A  very  heated  discussion  arose  and  for  a  time  it  appeared  as  if 
bloodshed  was  imminent.  Mrs.  Brooks,  who  had  left  the  loom  to  attend 
to  her  tea  arrangements,  was  very  much  amazed  and  disconcerted  a  little 

- 


later  when  two  ladies,  who  had  taken  umbrage  at  Mrs.  ftudd's  remarks, 
came  with  their  wraps  on  to  bid  her  good  bye.  Her  dismayed  query, 
"Why!  you  are  not  going  without  your  supier?"  brought  forth  an  explan- 
ation, and  through  her  intervention  peace  was  patched  up.  harmony 
restored,  and  they  did  not  go  home  without  their  supper. 


We  have  been  told  that  there  were  no  rats  in  Dixon  for  a  number  of 
years,  and  that  the  first  that  was  seen  here  came  in  a  load  of  goods  be- 
longing to  a  Baptist  minister  which  Mr.  Little  moved  from  LaMoilleand 
as  the  goods  were  being  unpacked  a  rat  jumped  from  the  wagon.  That 
there  was  no  lack  of  them  later  will  be  illustrated  by  a  little  story  which 
at  least,  has  the  virtue  of  being  true.  It  was  told  us  that  once  when  a 
guest  of  the  Dixon  house  was  leaving,  after  having  seated  himself  in  the 
stage  with  several  others,  he  shouted  to  Henry  McKenuey  that  there  was 
something  that  he  wanted  attended  to  before  he  came  this  way  again. 
Mr.  McKenney,  all  smiles  and  anxiety  to  please,  as  became  a  good  land- 
lord, wanted  to  know  what  he  could  do  for  him.  "Why,"  said  he,  "I 
want  you  to  teach  those  rats  of  yours  to  hold  up  their  tails  when  they  run 
over  a  man's  face." 


John  Brown  came  to  Dixon  in  1836,  with  no  intention  of  locating,  but 
here  he  remained  until  the  day  of  his  death,  a  most  worthy  citizen.  In 
1840  he  married  Eliza  Cotton,  who  had  come  from  Canada  the  year  before 
with  two  Quaker  families,  the  latter  returning  from  "whence  they  came" 
not  long  afterward.  As  soon  as  they  were  married  they  went  to  live  on 
the  farm  now  well-known  as  the  McRoberts  place.  There  were  no  neigh- 
bors near  at  first  and  when  Mrs.  Brown  saw  a  storm  coming  up  she  would 
hasten  to  town;  but  later,  when  she  had  one  baby  to  carry,  and  then  two, 
it  became  quite  an  undertaking,  for  three  little  daughters  came  to  them 
during  the  three  yer.rs  they  lived  upon  the  farm.  They  then  moved  to 
town  and  occupied  the  Chapman  house  near  Dr.  Paine's  present  home. 
Mrs.  Brown  is  rich  in  reminiscence  and  I  would  that  I  might  write  more 
that  she  has  told  me,  but  "the  day  of  reckoning  is  at  hand"  and  1  must 
confine  myself  to  a  few  items.  Mr.  Brown  had  been  an  employe  of  Seth 
Thomas  in  his  clock  factory  before  coming  west,  and  in  1843  he  sent  for 
some  clocks,  with  which  he  supplied  many  of  the  homes  in  Dixon.  One 
of  those  self-same  clocks  is  ticking  away  as  merrily  in  our  dining-room  as 
it  did  fifty  pears  ago  when  my  father  first  bought  it,  and  Mrs.  E.  C.  Smith 
has  another. 

Soon  after  they  moved  from  the  farm  Mrs.  Brown  had  a  very  severe 

—  32(5  — 


illness  of  three  months  duration,  and  she  was  forced  to  rely  upon  her 
neighbors  for  the  care  which  she  in  turn  had  given  them.  No  pen  can 
picture  the  kindness  and  devotion  of  one  to  another  in  those  early  years: 
sacrifices  were  made  every  day  quite  as  a  matter  of  course,  which  at  the 
present  time  would  be  regarded  as  immense.  One's  personal  comfort  or 
convenience  was  never  considered  if  there  were  sick  to  be  cared  for.  High 
or  low,  rich  or  poor,  each  received  the  same  attention.  Mrs.  James  Hatch 
is  spoken  of  as  one  of  the  best  of  women,  and  I  should  think  deservedly, 
for  when  Mrs.  Brown  was  so  long  ill  she  weaned  her  own  more  healthy 
baby  that  she  might  give  nourishment  to  the  veiy  delicate  babe  of  her 
sick  neighbor. 

Another  who  was  never  weary  of  well-doing  was  Aunt  Rhoda  McKen- 
ney,  the  wife  of  Uncle  Peter,  of  whom  she  was  the  exact  opposite  in  al- 
most every  respect,  even  to  size,  as  he  was  a  little  lean  man,  while  she 
was  a  large  and  exceedingly  fleshy  woman.  When  her  time  came  to  die 
she  was  surrounded  by  the  loving  hands  of  those  unto  whom  she  had 
ministered.  At  this  time  Uncle  Peter  was  inconsolable,  crying  as  if  his 
heart  would  break,  he  turned  to  one  who  was  there  and  said,  amid  his 
sobs,  "Is  it  posssible  she  is  going  off  with  all  that  fat  on  her?" 

Mrs.  Brown,  too,  was  ever  ready  to  go  where  she  was  needed,  and 
mf.ny  a  sick  person  received  her  tender  care.  One  time,  when  she  was 
with  a  very  poor  woman,  she  was  obliged  to  wash  the  new  arrival  in  an 
ordinary  quart  bowl,  and  later,  as  there  were  no  other  dishes  in  the 
house  except  plates,  furnish  the  woman  with  gruel  from  the  same  bowl. 
So  it  was  that  these  people  who  have  lived  out  their  lives  among  us  wen^ 
about  doing  good.  Mr.  Brown  died  in  1878  but  his  wife  still  lives  to  bless 
her  children  with  her  presence  and  does  not  look  the  seventy-six  years 
which  she  has  numbered. 

There  are  one  or  two  funny  stories  in  which  James  YanArnam  figures. 
One  time  when  Jim  was  going  to  Chicago  that  prince  of  jokers,  Perse 
Cheney,  telegraphed  a  description  of  him  to  the  police  and  notified  them 
to  arrest  him  as  soon  as  the  train  reached  the  city.  This  was  done  and 
Jim  was  held  in  "durance  vile''  until  an  order  for  his  release  came  with 
the  assurance  that  no  one  would  appear  against  him.  Jim  determined 
that  he  would  unearth  the  perpetrator  of  the  joke  which  hiid  been  played 
so  successfully  upon  him  and  soon  traced  it  to  Mr.  Cheney.  Not  long 
after  these  two  were  taking  a  drive  in  the  country  and  came  to  Mrs. 
Dana's  fine  orchard.  This  matron  had  the  reputation  of  being  a  some- 
what formidable  person  for  trespassers  to  meet  and  it  was  well-known 

—  327  — 


fact  that  she  was  the  owner  of  some  still  more  formidable  dogs.  The 
"forbidden  fruit"  looked  very  tempting  and  Jim  suggested  that  Mr. 
Cheney  go  in  and  pather  some  apples  while  he  would  go  on  to  the  house 
and  engage  the  old  lady  in  conversation.  This  was  readily  agreed  to  by 
his  unsuspecting  companion,  and  Jim  went  on  his  way  rejoicing.  The 
manner  in  which  he  engaged  the  lady  in  converse  was  to  tell  her  that 
there  was  a  fellow  down  in  the  orchard  stealing  her  apples  and  advising 
her  to  let  the  dogs  loose.  When  Mr.  Cheney  heard  them  coming  he  took 
to  a  tree  and  there  he  remained,  "forgotten  of  the  world1'  but  not  by  the 
quadrupeds  (unfortunately),  for  nearly  two  hours,  then  the  dogs  were 
called  off  and  he,  being  permitted  to  descend,  was  obliged  to  own  that 
for  once  in  his  life  he  had  been  "paid  back  in  his  own  coin." 

It  will  be  remembered  that  Jim  was — well,  yes— cross-eyed.  One  time 
when  he  was  about  to  butcher  a  beef  with  an  ax  the  man  who  was  hold- 
ing its  head  inquired  with  some  trepidation  if  he  was  going  to  hit  where 
he  was  aiming  or  where  he  was  looking,  "cause,  if  it  was  where  he  was 
looking,  he  wanted  to  get  out  of  the  way." 

Jim  was  marshal  at  the  time  that  Mr.  J.  C.  Ayres  was  city  clerk,  and 
he  was  in  the  habit  of  coming  up  into  that  gentleman's  office  when  he 
had  any  writing  to  do.  One  day  when  Mr.  Ayres  was  engaged  in  making 
out  some  pension  papers  for  an  old  lady  who  was  waiting  in  the  office,  Jim 
came  in  as  usual  and  asked  for  pen  and  paper  and  seated  himself  at  the 
opposite  side  of  the  desk  to  write  a  letter.  His  contortions  and  facial 
expressions  while  undergoing  this  ordeal  can  better  be  illustrated  by  pan- 
tomine  than  described,  so  I  shall  not  attempt  it.  After  laboring  pain- 
fully for  some  minutes  Jim  looked  up  at  Mr.  Ayres  and  asked  "how  do 
you  spell  anxious?"  The  old  iady,  some  little  distance  off  to  one  side, 
and  on  whom  Jim's  "weather  eye"  was  fixed  in  wild  interrogation, 
straightened  herself  up,  began  to  hem  and  haw,  and  at  last  blurted  out 
"ank-no-anck-no,  no-ancqu-no,  that's  not  it.  Well  (with  a  deep  sigh), 
I'll  give  it  up!  I  used  to  be  a  beautiful  speller,  but  I  can't  spell  worth  a 
cent  since  I  lost  my  teeth." 


Isaac  Means  came  here  in  1845,  followed  three  years  later  by  the  other 
members  of  the  family.  They  lived  on  a  farm  two  miles  east  of  town  on 
the  Franklin  Grove  road.  Mrs.  Jane  Little,  a  daughter  of  i.he  family, 
resided  at  that  time  in  the  house  now  occupied  by  George  McBride  on 
Ottawa  avenue.  She  was  well-known  here,  always  jolly  and  laughing, 
the  life  of  every  gathering.  She  was  the  only  woman  (so  far  as  I  have 
heard)  ever  admitted  to  the  rites  of  Masonry,  and  this  honor  she  obtained 

—  328  — 


by  that  propensity  of  our  Mother  Eye,  which  is  said  to  have  been  trans- 
mitted to  all  her  descendants  in  the  female  line,  viz.,  curiusity,  but  the 
story  is  too  long  to  tell  now.  She  had  a  family  of  four  boys  and  many  a 
struggle  had  she  to  rear  them  until  they  were  able  to  do  for  themselves. 
She,  too,  has  passed  into  the  "beyond"  with  so  many  others  of  those  early 
years. 

Mr.  Means  died  in  1878  at  the  age  of  ninety-five  years.  His  wife  sur- 
vived him  until  1881.  There  were  four  old  ladies  who  were  often  invited 
to  tea  at  one  or  other  of  their  daughters,  and  they  were  dubbed  the 
"Irish  Convention"  by  some  of  the  irrevelent  young  members  of  their 
families.  They  would  assemble  soon  after  dinner  so  as  to  have  a  long 
afternoon's  visit,  knitting  in  hand.  They  could  certainly  do  more  real 
genuine  visiting  "to  the  square  yard"  than  any  others  I  have  ever  seen. 
They  were  Mrs.  Means,  noble-looking,  with  deep-toned  voice,  Mrs.  Law, 
placid  of  countenance,  straight  and  dignified,  Mrs.  Richards,  with  sweet 
laughing  face  and  loving  manner,  Mrs.  Mulligan,  the  youngest  of  the 
party,  with  high  sweet  voice  and  look  of  supreme  contentment.  Memory 
brings  their  dear  faces  so  plainly  before  me  that  I  can  scarcely  believe 
that  I* shall  never  again  behold  them  in  the  flesh,  and  as  I  write  I  can 
e'en  hear  the  hum  of  their  happy  voices  which  have  been  stilled  in  death 
these  many  years. 

A  few  years  after  the  Means  came  here  a  very  sad  accident  occurred 
in  their  home.  During  a  severe  thunder  storm  in  the  early  morning 
their  daughter  Charlotte,  a  beautiful  girl  who  was  soon  to  have  been 
married,  was  struck  by  lightning  and  instantly  killed.  Her  mother  in 
the  room  beneath  also  received  a  severe  shock. 

Mrs.  Maxwell,  the  only  remaining  member  of  the  family  here,  was 
married  in  a  striped  calico  dress.  There  had  been  one  or  two  quite  styl- 
ish weddings  here  a  little  before  and  Mr.  Maxwell  made  up  his  mind 
that  there  should  be  no  "high  jinks"  when  they  were  married,  so  it  took 
place  just  as  he  had  planned  it.  I  will  add,  however,  that  they  gave  a 
very  <»well  supper  to  their  friends  an  evening  or  two  later.  Mrs.  Maxwell 
has  reared  a  family  of  whom  any  mother  might  feel  proud,  and  the  years 
have  dealt  so  gently  with  her  that  her  'hair  is  only  sprinkled  with  gray. 


One  time  there  was  an  Irish  family  living  in  the  basement  of  Jim 
VanArnam's  old  stone  house  who  would  neither  pay  their  rent  or  vacate 
the  premises  and  Jim  determined  to  take  matters  into  his  own  hands. 
Some  masons  had  been  at  work  in  the  upper  story  and  had  left  a  heavy 
timber  there,  and  one  night  he  went  to  the  house,  took  off  his  boots  and 

—  329  — 


crept  up  stairs,  laid  hold  of  the  timber,  raised  it  and  let  it  drop  with  a 
tremendous  thud  just  over  the  heads  of  his  sleeping  victims,  then  made 
his  escape  undetected.  A  day  or  two  later  the  woman  came  to  Mr. 
Ayres  (to  whom  Jim  had  unfolded  his  plan)  for  the  purpose  of  borrowing 
some  money  with  which  to  build  a  shanty.  Mr.  Ayres  remarked  that  he 
had  supposed  that  she  was  well  fixed  where  she  was.  She  then  began 
telling  him  of  the  fearful  noises  they  had  heard  there  in  the  dead  of 
night,  guns  going  off  and  dreadful  pounding  and  not  a  soul  about  the 
place,  and  no  one  could  convince  her  that  a  horrible  murder  had  not 
sometime  been  committed  there  and  for  all  the  world,  in  that  house 
they  would  not  stay.  So  Jim  got  rid  of  his  tenant. 

The  best  part  is  still  to  come.  Mr.  Ayres  owned  the  old  "Dixon  Gar- 
dens" east  of  town  and  was  greatly  annoyed  by  the  young  Hibernians  of 
the  neighborhood,  who  continually  kept  breaking  into  the  house  smash- 
ing the  windows  and  destroying  all  that  was  destroyable.  Jim's  success- 
ful campaign  flashed  into  his  mind  and  he  resolved  to  emulate  his  noble 
example.  He  got  a  dark  lantern  and  late  in  the  evening  would  let  him- 
self into  the  house,  turn  on  the  light  and  flash  it  about.  To  make  mat- 
ters still  more  sure,  he  asked  an  old  Irishman  in  the  neighborhood,  who 
was  in  his  office  one  day,  if  he  had  noticed  anything  strange  about  the 
house.  He  had  not,  and  Mr.  Ayres,  swearing  him  to  secrecy,  told  him 
all  he  had  heard  that  the  old  man  (who  had  formerly  lived  thereand 
died)  "waited."  Of  course  the  startled  old  man  told  everyone  he  met 
(as  it  was  intended  he  should)  the  fearful  story,  and  sure  enough,  that 
same  night  a  strange,  uncanny  light  was  seen  flashing  here,  there  and 
everywhere  through  the  old  house.  From  that  time  the  boys  never 
troubled  the  house  but  took  trouble  to  give  it  a  wide  berth.  Not  long 
after  Mr.  Ayres  had  an  opportunity  of  selling  the  place  and  was  congrat- 
ulating himself  on  his  good  fortune,  but  before  the  transaction  was  quite 
completed,  the  man  had  heard  the  grewsome  tale  and  would  have  none 
of  it,  although  the  hero  of  the  exploit  even  humbled  himself  to  confess 
to  him  the  boyish  pranks  which  he  had  been  playing.  It  was  all  in  vain, 
and  Mr.  Ayres  lost  the  sale  of  the  place  and  since  has  not  yearned  to 
follow  Jim  VanArnarn's  example  in  any  way. 


As  I  read  over  this  paper  which  I  have  written,  somewhat  unwillingly 
it  strikes  me  that  it  is  a  little  (in  parts)  after  the  manner  of  "Peck's 
Bad  Boy,"  or  the  "Danbury  News"  and  I  shall  censure  no  one  should  the 
book  be  laid  aside  after  a  perusal  of  one  or  two  of  my  stories.  I  have 
garnered  them  from  the  memory  of  various  old  settlers  and  they  are  well 
authenticated,  yet  I  tremble  at  my  boldness  in  presenting  them  to  you, 
all  unaccustomed  as  I  am  to  writing,  but  ;'as  ye  are  strong,  be  ye  also 
merciful."  GRACE  E.  Jonxsox. 


Some  Earf^/  Horoeo,  ef?  DIXOT?. 


VERY  late  in  the  course  of  our  preparation  of  material  for  this  little 
book  we  were  deeply  pained  to  learn  that  the  hand  of  death  had 
been  laid  upon  one  of  our  most  gifted  contributors — well-known 
and  loved  in  Dixon  -Mrs.  S.  A.  Bethea.  To  her  had  been  assigned  the 
pleasant  task  of  preparing  a  chapter  upon  the  pioneers  of  Dixon— but 
the  story  was  unwritten,  for  death  came  too  soon.  To  those  who  have 
been  associated  in  this  work  there  will  always  be  a  missing  "number"  in 
the  promised  programme,  a  vacant  chair  at  our  table.  To  all  who  read, 
there  will  be  a  missing  chord  in  the  harmony.  Efforts  to  fill  this  blank 
have  resulted  in  various  shorter  papers  which  will  be  read  with  interest, 
we  trust,  but  at  the  eleventh  hour  it  has  fallen  upon  unworthy  me  to  en- 
deavor to  picture  to  the  friends  of  today  some  of  the  early  homes  of 
Dixon  and  their  occupants.  Both  time  and  opportunity  for  gathering 
material  for  such  a  sketch  have  been  inadequate,  and  no  one  can  regret 
more  than  myself  that  hearty  desire  and  deep  interestcannot  be  equalled 
in  results. 

Many  will  discover  (as  Mr.  Sabin  Trobridge  used  to  say  in  his  S.  S. 
praters)  "sins  of  o-mission  and  sins  of  corn-mission,"  but  they  are  not 
idW/uZsins,  and  1  trust  they  will  be  forgiven— and  that  those  who  see 
them  will  not  fail  to  remember  that  they  are  all  partakers  thereof,  since 
all  have  been  asked,  again  and  again  to  "lend  a  hand  in  the  gathering 
of  these  "Recollections"  and  far  too  few  have  responded.  All  honor  t 
the  "few!" 

I  begin  with  the  first  home  in  the  town — Father  Dixon's  log  cabin,  so 
often  referred  to  in  these  pages  which  stood  partly  in  J.  M.  Cropsey's  lot, 
partly  in  Peoria  street.  It  was  a  large  "double  cabin,"  the  space  between 
the  two  cabins  (about  twelve  feet,)  being  enclosed  and  used  as  a  dining- 
room  in  mild  weather.  Here  Father  Dixon  lived  for  seAeral  years,  but 
in  1837  he  was  living  on  the  Cyrus  Williams  farm,  in  what  is  now  "High- 
land Park"  near  where  the  homestead  of  the  Williams  family  stood— the 
present  site  of  Robert  Fargo's  house. 

—  331  — 


After  a  short  time  he  went  to  the  farm,  now  known  as  the  Dr.  Everett 
farm,  where  the}7  lived  until  Mrs.  Dixon  grew  too  feeble  to  be  alone;  then 
they  came  to  the  home  of  his  son  James,  in  the  small  brick  house  opposite 
the  Dement  place,  where  in  1847  "Mother  Dixon"  died.  The  old  cabin 
was  again  used  as  a  dwelling  house  at  one  time  and  was  occupied  by  the 
Loveland  family.  Here  Ernmeline  Loveland  was  married  to  Smith  Gil- 
braith,  one  of  the  original  stockholders  of  the  town,  and  one  of  its  most 
promising  business  men  Father  Dixon's  cabin  was  also  used  as  a  hotel. 
as  a  store,  and  was  finally  called  the  "Buzzard's  Roost"— in  1840.  I  have 
not  been  able  to  learn  its  fate,  but  the  probability  seems  to  be  that  it 
was  used  as  a  part  of  Cropsey's  blacksmith  shop  for  a  time,  and  then  torn 
down. 

James  P.  Dixon  had  a  log  house  on  Main  street,  and  in  a  "lean-to" 
was  the  P.  O  (when  it  wasn't  in  Father  Dixon's  hat).  Jude  W.  Hamilton 
had  a  little  frame  house  near,  which  after  several  removals  stood  for  a 
long  time  just  east  of  the  express  office  and  was  pulled  down  in  1870. 
This  was  the  first  frame  house  in  the  town,  and  was,  probably,  built  by 
John  K.  Robison,  and  one  of  the  sons  of  Father  Dixon.  John  W.  Dixon 
built  the  house  on  Ottawa  street  known  as  the  Gilbraith  house,  lately 
occupied  by  Mr.  Ingraham,  but  sold  it  to  Mr.  Gilbraith  as  soon  as  it  was 
done,  and  built  for  himself  the  one  next  it,  now  owned  by  George  Mc- 
Bride. 

Mr.  and  Mrs.  Elijah  Kellogg  with  their  little  girl,  now  Mrs.  E.  B. 
Baker,  went  to  New  York  on  a  visit  in  1837,  and  on  their  return  brought 
with  them  their  neice,  Elizabeth  Sherwood,  a  young  lady  of  eighteen,  to 
spend  a  year  with  them  and  her  aunt,  Mrs.  Dixon.  We  must  believe  the 
year,  or  the  visit,  a  very  long  one,  fur  the  lady  is  still  here.  She  was 
married  in  1839  to  John  W.  Dixon,  at  the  home  of  her  aunt  at  Kellogg's 
Grove,  by  the  Rev.  James  DePui.  They  went  first  to  the  home  of  Father 
Dixon,  on  Dr.  Everett's  farm,  but  came  to  the  McBride  house  within  a 
year.  After  Mrs.  Dixon's  death  they  lived  for  many  years  in  the  house 
which  Mr.  Bovey  used,  until  lately,  for  an  office  at  his  lumber  yard,  on 
Water  street.  As  Mother  Dixon  died  only  six  weeks  before  Mr.  John  W. 
Dixon,  the  double  bereavement  drew  Father  Dixon  to  his  widowed 
daughter-in-law,  and  he  made  his  home  with  her  ever  after.  In  the  early 
'50's  they  came  to  live  in  North  Dixon,  on  N.  Jefferson  avenue  where 
Father  Dixon  died  in  1876,  and  where  Mrs.  Dixon  still  lives  with  her  son 
and  daughter. 

Elijah  Dixon,  Father  Dixon's  third  son,  never  had  a  home  here.  He 
went  when  a  young  man  to  establish  a  stage  route  between  Janesville 

—  3,32  — 


and  Milwaukee,  in  company  v.  ith  Richard  Lovelaticl.    Not  long  after  this 
was  accomplished  he  was  seized  with  pneumonia  and  died  at  Janesville. 

Father  Dixon's  fourth  son,  Franklin,  died  at  the  early  age  of  sixteen' 
His  memory  is  enshrined  in  the  name  of  the  pretty  "Franklin  Creek,'' 
whicli  in  turn  gave  the  name  to  Franklin  Grove.  We  learn  that  Father 
Dixon  found  the  pretty  stream  when  hunting  one  day,  and  not  long  after 
proposed  to  a  party  of  relatives  to  go  with  him  to  see  it.  They  were 
greatly  pleased  with  the  country  and  the  creek,  and  when  asked  for  a 
name  Mrs.  Kellogg  said  it  "should  be  named  for  Frank." 

Mrs.  Dixon  also  lost  two  children,  at  Galena,  whither  she  fled  for 
safety  during  the  Blackhawk  war,  and  a  beautiful  daughter  of  three  and 
a  half  years  died  of  scarlet  fever  at  Dr.  Everett's  farm,  when  there  had 
been  no  other  case  heard  of  for  many  months.  She  was  the  pet  and  pride 
of  the  household,  and  her  death  was  a  sad  blow  to  the  family.  The 
ice  was  going  out  of  the  river,  and  the  water  so  high  that  the  little 
coffin  was  carried  at  great  risk  in  a  skiff  across  the  river  to  t^e  cemetery, 
unattended  except  by  those  who  rowed  the  boat.  Tuis  was  the  youngest 
child,  but  of  the  large  family  only  two,  I  believe,  survived  the  mother, 
and  not  one  was  left  to  mourn  the  father's  death. 

Two  stories  so  characteristic  of  Father  and  Mother  Dixon  have  recent' 
ly  been  told  me  that  1  give  them  here.  The  first  is  of  a  local  historian 
who  was  "writing  up"  the  Blackhawk  war.  He  read  some  paragraphs  to 
Father  Dixon,  which  were  more  high  sounding  than  eiiact,  and  quickly 
roused  Father  Dixon's  spirit.  He  corrected  the  statement  carefully,  as 
suring  the  writer  that  "history  should  be  exact,  rather  than  pleasing, 
and  he  would  not  for  one  moment  allow  any  such  misleading  inference  to 
appear  in  print."  But  the  young  writer  was  so  proud  of  his  periods  that 
in  due  time  it  came  out  in  a  local  paper.  The  next  time  he  met  Father 
Dixon  the  old  gentleman  said  quietly:  ''I  see  you  did  not  make  that 
correction:  you  can  now  take  your  choice:  correct  it  yourself  in  the  next 
issue  of  the  paper,  as  much  to  your  own  credit  as  you  can,  or  I  shall  do  so, 
and  if  I  make  the  correction  it  will  be  in  no  measured  terms."  It  is 
needless  to  add  that  the  correction  was  made  without  delay. 

It  is  also  said  that  Mother  Dixon  at  one  time  entertained  three  min- 
isters who  did  not  disclose  their  calling  until  they  were  on  the  eve  of 
departure — for  which  she  severely  reproved  them — thus  showing  that  a 
woman  who  could  preside  with  such  dignitj  when  entertaining  Indian 
chiefs,  as  to  call  forth  their  admiration,  could  also  reprove  unhesitating- 
ly when  she  felt  rebuke  was  merited.  The  ministers  acknowledged  the 
justice  of  her  reproof,  and  promised  never  to  do  the  like  again. 

—  333  — 


The  little  house  next  the  one  where  Mrs.  John  W.  Dixon  lived  so  long 
(on  River  street)  was  occupied  for  a  time  by  A.  T.  Marphy,  one  of  the 
early  settlers  of  the  town.  Here  also  lived  for  many  years  the  old  ferry- 
man, John  Neimeyer,  bnt  in  time  it  became  the  famous,  or  infamous 
''hole  in  the  wall"  where  there  was  so  much  drinking.  After  serving  a 
better  purpose  (as  a  store  room  for  Lorenzo  Wood's  woolen  goods)  it  was 
at  last  pulled  down. 

We  turn  from  the  story  of  Father  Dixon's  family  to  that  of  their  dear 
friends,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  J.  T.  Little.  Mr.  Little  was  one  of  the  fi.rst  mer- 
chants in  Dixon,  and  with  his  amiable  wife  has  been  associated  with  the 
iaterests  of  the  town  for  over  fifty  years. 

, Mr.  Little  was  induced  to  leave  his  native  place  (Castine,  Maine) 
through  correspondence  with  a  very  dear  friend,  Joseph  A.  Wallace  (a 
brother  of  Gen.  Wm.  Wallace),  who  came  to  Ogle  county  and  was  em- 
ployed as  a  clerk  in  the  store  of  J.  B.  Crist  in  "Oregon  City." 

Mr.  Wallace  wrote  such  glowing  letters  about  the  west,  and  particular- 
ly of  the  Rock  river  country,  that  he  infected  Mr.  Little  with  the  western 
fever,  and  in  1839  we  find  him  writing  to  eastern  friends  in  terms  equally 
enthusiastic  from  "Oregon  City."  We  quote  from  a  letter  addressed  by 
him  to  S.  K.  Upham,  in  Castine:  "Dixon,  or  Dixonville  (as  it  is  also 
called),  is  a  larger  place  than  this,  and  is  a  central  point.  The  great 
Central  R.  R.  through  this  state  passes  through  (or  will  pass  through) 
Dixon.  It  has  been  in  progress  at  that  place,  but  work  is  now  abandoned 
for  want  of  funds;  will  be  continued  next  summer  [1839).  There  is  but 
store  there  now,  of  any  consequence,  and  very  poor  goods.  If  we  get  our 
goods  there  in  any  season  we  shall  do  well.  Our  store  room  is  the  best  in 
this  section  of  the  country,  and  I  think  it  a  much  better  place  to  sell 
goods  than  Oregon  City.  There  never  was  a  prettier  place  for  a  town, 
and  within  two  years  it  will  be  almost  a  paradise."  Mr.  Little  also  says 
that  he  shall  never  forget  the  beautiful  vision  of  his  first  glimpse  of 
Dixon  as  he  came  down  the  river  in  the  stage  with  Leonard  Andrus  from 
Grand  Detour.  He  was  also  delighted  to  see  what  he  felt  sure  was  a 
church  steeple  on  the  river  bank.  He  had  heard  Dixon  called  a  "hard 
place,"  but  here  was  evidence  of  another  sort,  he  was  sure.  Alas!  for  the 
truth!  What  he  supposed  was  a  church  steeple  was  the  chimney  of  tne 
old  distillery  on  Water  street,  and  the  revulsion  of  feeling  may  be  better 
imagined  than  described. 

In  December,  1839.  a  Mr.  John  M.  Fish,  of  Alton,  and  J.  B.  Crist,  of 
Oregon,  formed  a  partnership  for  tbe  transaction  of  the  mercantile  busi- 
ness at  Dixon.  Mr.  Fish  went  to  Alton  to  purchase  dry  goods,  groceries), 

—  334  — 


and  .such  other  articles  as  then  made  up  the  stock  of  a  western  variety 
store.  These  were  shipped  up  the  Mississippi  river  and  were  to  be  landed 
at  Savanna,  but  the  weather  became  so  intensely  cold  that  the  river 
froze  over  and  the  steamer  could  go  no  farther  north  than  Tully,  Mo. 
Here  the  goods  were  landed  and  the  steamer  returned  to  Alton. 

The  boundary  war  between  Iowa  and  Missouri  was  in  progress,  and 
the  Missouri  troops  being  in  need  of  such  articles  broke  into  the  ware- 
house and  took  possession  of  the  goods.  Mr.  Fish  and  Mr.  Little  had 
bought  the  goods  which  Mr.  Crist  added  to  the  stock  of  the  firm,  and  had 
sent  them  from  Oregon  to  Dixon— taking  into  their  partnership  S.  G.  D. 
Howard — and  assuming  the  firm  name  of  Fish,  Little  and  Co.  Hearing 
of  the  seizure  of  their  goods  Mr.  Fish  went  at  once  to  Tully  and  replev- 
ined  them,  taking  them  back  into  the  country  about  forty  miles  to  Sand 
Hill.  Not  finding  any  prospect  of  getting  them  to  Dixon  before  spring  he 
decided  to  sell  what  he  could  where  he  was. 

Messrs.  Little  and  Howard  were,  meantime,  selling  the  Oregon  goods 
in  the  Gilbraith  store  on  the  corner  of  Hennepin  and  River  streets,  nuw 
occupied  as  a  brewery. 

The  ice  went  out  of  the  river  in  February,  1840,  with  a  sudden  rise  of 
the  water,  which  left  gieat  cake?  twenty  inches  thick  all  along  the  bank, 
flooding  the  cellars  and  destroying  twenty  barrels  of  salt  belonging  to 
S;nith  Gilbraith  in  the  store  just  spoken  of.  Mr.  Little,  being  very  anx- 
ious to  learn  the  state  of  affairs  at  Sand  Hill,  purchased  a  skiff  of  William 
Peacock,  fitted  it  with  a  sail,  and  accompanied  by  Isaac  Robinson  (land- 
lord of  the  Rock  River  house,  which  stood  where  Paul  Lord's  wagon  shop 
m  w  is)  started  down  the  river.  They  came  upon  a  gorge  at  Como,  where 
the,  ice  was  piled  four  feet  high,  so  they  stopped  for  the  night  at  a  farm 
house.  They  tied  their  boat  to  a  tree,  carrying  their  baggage  to  the 
house.  During  the  night  the  ice  went  out,  leaving  their  boat  high  and 
dry,  hanging  to  the  tree.  The  remainder  of  their  trip  was  very  pleasant, 
and  they  entered  the  Mississippi  at  Rockingham.  which  stood  directly 
opposite  the  mouth  of  Rock  river.  At  Burlington,  Iowa,  they  sold  their 
boat,  Mr.  Robinson  going  on  to  New  Orleans  and  Mr.  Little  getting  pas- 
sage by  stage,  wagon  or  skiff,  as  best  he  could,  to  Sand  Hill.  Here  he 
found  Mr.  Fish  in  a  little  one-story  log  "store."  where  he  had  his  goods 
arranged  in  a  sort  of  sutler's  style,  and  where  he  was  also  postmaster. 
They  divided  the  goods  and  dissolved  their  partnership,  Mr.  Little  re- 
turning to  Dixon  with  his  share.  His  partnership  with  Mr.  Howard  con- 
tinued for  some  tirue  but  ended  with  Mr.  Little  assuming  the  whole 
business  and  building  a  large  store  on  River  street,  which  is  now  a  part 


of  D.  W,  McKenney's  livery  stable.  This  drew  so  heavily  on  his  capi- 
tal that  he  closed  his  business  and  rented  the  store  to  Garrett,  Seaman 
&  Co.,  entering  their  employ  as  clerk.  Mr.  Little  says:  "It  might  show 
some  of  the  young  men  what  it  cost  in  labor  and  sacrifice  to  develop  a 
new  country,  to  learn  that  for  the  rent  of  my  store,  the  board  of  the 
two  clerks,  and  my  own  services  as  cleric  I  received  seven  hundred  dol- 
lars a  year." 

Some  time  after  this  Mr.  Little  formed  a  partnership  with  J.  B. 
Brooks,  of  whom  he  says  he  was  "one  of  ihe  best  business  men  and  one 
of  the  best  men  who  ever  resided  in  Dixon"— and  adds  also  "It  is  due  to 
Mr.  Brocks  that  he  be  brought  to  the  notice  of  the  readers  of  this  his- 
tory, for  no  man  has  ever  done  more  to  build  up  this  town  than  J.  B. 
Brooks — and  no  man  has  better  represented  the  industrious,  prudent, 
liberal,  faithful,  honest  business  man  in  this  communitv  than  he." 

"This  generation  has  no  idea  how  much  it  is  indebted  to  him  that 
Dixon  was  enabled  to  pass,  with  so  little  disaster,  through  the  financial 
embarassments  of  the  state  and  country."  It  is  the  pleasure  of  many 
friends  to  notice  that  his  son,  Dr.  H.  J.  Brooks,  inherits  the  traits  of  h's 
father. 

In  October  1840  Mr.  Little  was  married  to  Eleanor  Cobb,  of  Bangor, 
Me.,  and  the  young  couple  immediately  started  for  their  western  home, 
intending  to  reach  it  in  time  for  the  groom  to  cast  his  first  presidential 
vote  for  Gen.  Wm.  Henry  Harrison,  but  the  steamer  in  which  they  took 
passage  from  Buffalo  to  Chicago  encountered  a  terrifflc  gale  off  Thunder 
Bay  and  was  compelled  to  return  to  Detroit,  where  her  passengers 
awaited  the  coming  of  the  next  boat  a  week  later. 

Their  first  fifty  miles  out  of  Chicago  was  made  in  a  four-horse  coach, 
but  after  being  duly  "sloughed,"  the  passengers  were  transferred  to  at  wo- 
horso  lumber  wagon,  in  which  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Little  rode  on  a  carpenter's 
tool-che=t.  At  Oregon  they  were  again  placed  in  a  coach  and  had  a  more 
comfortable  ride  the  last  part  of  the  journey,  through  scenery  as  de- 
lightful as  that  romantic  route  still  affords.  They  went  first  to  the  old 
"Western  Hotel,"  (now  ',Huntly  House,''  on  Hennepin  street,)  then 
kept  by  Geo.  A.  Hawley,  from  Baffalo,  N.  Y.  Mrs.  Little's  room  was 
directly  over  the  bar-room,  and  heated  by  the  pipe  from  the  bar-room 
stove;  we  may  imagine  it  was  far  from  pleasant,  so  that  she  prized  the 
more,  the  kindness  of  "Mother  Dixon,"  who  took  the  young  stranger  to 
her  home  whenever  Mr.  L'ttle  was  absent  on  business,  and  by  every 
charm  of  her  warm  motherly  heart  strove  to  dispel  the  loneliness  which 
might  else  have  been  hard  to  bear.  There  were  other  dear  and  kind 

—  336  — 


friends,  too,  for  says  one  who  has  told  us  much  of  that  time:  "Dixon  in  its 
early  settlement  was  favored  with  the  society  of  many  refined,  cultivated 
families,  many  devout,  active,  Christian  men  and  women,"  and  another 
adds:  "It  seems  to  me  that  the  porportion  of  such  was  larger  than  it  is 
now." 

It  was  no  doubt  largely  due  to  the  influence  of  "Mother  Dixon"  that 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  Little  became  members  of  the  Baptist  church  in  1841,  in 
which  communion  they  have  been  devout  and  faithful  members  ever 
since.  Mr.  Little  says:  "All  the  various  religious  services  were  held  in 
the  same  old  school  house  at  that  time,  but  there  were  grand  sermons, 
fervent,  effectual  paryers,  and  sweet  songs  of  Zion  thai,  have  echoed  in 
the  heart  of  many  an  old  settler  ever  since." 

After  a  time  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Little  commenced  housekeeping  in  a  little 
house  of  one  quite  large  room,  a  bedroom  so  small  that  it  was  impossible 
to  shut  the  door  without  getting  behind  it,  a  pantry,  and  a  hole  beneath 
which  did  duty  as  a  cellar.  This  house  stood  on  the  corner  of  what  is 
now  Galena  avenue  and  Second  street,  where  Mrs.  Lewis'  milliner's  store 
is.  In  this  small  compass  they  lived  and  boarded  the  two  gentlemen  who 
aided  Mr.  Little  in  the  store,  P.  M.  Alexander  and  Mr.  Howard,  and  no 
one  can  doubt  the  testimony  of  an  eye-witness  that  it  was  "tidy,  home- 
like, and  comfortable." 

Their  next  home  was  a  part  of  the  large  building,  comprising  both 
store  and  house,  on  Water  street,  referred  to  before.  Here  Mrs.  Barge 
remembers  going  to  see  Mrs.  Little's  first  baby  and  the  delight  with  which 
such  arrivals  were  always  hailed.  At  this  home,  too,  first  entered  Dixon 
society  another  familiar  personage  as  a  member  of  Mrs.  Little's  family, 
whose  lasting  devotion  to  them  is  but  one  of  the  many  evidences  of  a 
noble  character— Adam  Schiere;  but  we  leave  a  "story"  of  Adam  to 
another  pen. 

In  1841,  too,  Mr.  Little  entered  into  an  agreement  which  we  CODJ  for 
the  benefit  of  young  men  who  feel  that  their  services  are  not  duly 
appreciated  or  remunerated  or  consider  success  a  consequence  of  a  large 
salary.  It  states  that  "The  said  Little  agrees  to  pay  the  said  Alexander 
one  hundred  dollars  in  such  merchandise  as  he  may  want,  at  twelve  and 
a  half  per  cent  advance  from  cost,  and  the  remainder  of  the  hundred 
dollars  over  and  above  the  amount  in  goods  he  may  want,  the  said  Little 
agrees  to  pay  him  in  good  par  money.  The  said  Little  agrees  also  to  board 
the  said  Alexander  and  pay  for  his  washing.  And  the  said  Alexander  on 
the  other  part  agrees  to  discharge  the  duties  of  clerk  in  the  store  of  said 
Little,  to  devote  h.  js  time  to  the  said  Little's  interest,  and  to  do  all 

-337  - 


that  may  be  required  of  him  by  the  said  Little,  which  may  be  reasonable 
as  clerk  in  his  store  for  one  year  from  the  first  day  of  September,  1841," 
duly  signed  by  J.  T.  Little  and  P.  M.  Alexander.  Of  Mr.  Little's  business 
connectiocs  at  a  later  date  we  have  already  written.  He  spent  some 
years  in  the  nursery  business  when  the  confinement  of  a  store  told  upon 
his  health,  but  is  now  living  in  town  again.  Age  has  silvered  his  hair 
and  enfeebled  his  steps.  Mrs.  Little's  sweet  face  is  touched  by  the  same 
gentle  artist,  but  their  hearts  are  still  warm  with  affection  for  the  home 
of  their  adoption.  Mr.  Little  says:  "I  am  now  an  old  man,  and  have 
seen  Dixon  become  a  thriving  manufacturing  city,  with  first-class  educa- 
tionol  facilities,  superior  church  privileges,  and  a  thriving,  energetic 
population,  and  though  I  myself  have  suffered  many  reverses  of  fortune 
and  am,  consequently,  unable  to  help  pecuniarily  in  building  up  the  city, 
I  still  feel  deeply  interested  in  its  prosperity  and  bid  it  'God  speed'  in 
every  laudable  enterprise." 

There  was  little  choice  of  labor  in  those  days,  but  there  was  no  aris- 
tocracy but  that  of  worth — so  "labor  and  capital"  were  not  the  vexed 
questions  they  are  now.  P.  M.  Alexander  worked  for  Father  Dixon  sev- 
eral months  when  he  first  came — on  his  farm.  Then  he  came  back  to 
town  and  he  and  Richard  Loveland  were  employed  by  Mr.  Gilbraith  to 
cut  timber  on  the  island,  which  they  sold  for  $1.25  per  cord.  They  also 
sawed  and  split  some  of  it  for  Dr.  Everett  for  fifty  cents  per  cord. 

His  business  connection  with  Mr.  Little,  which  was  the  beginning  of 
his  mercantile  life  and  the  foundation  of  his  success  as  a  merchant,  was 
spoken  of  a  few  pages  back.  In  1847  Mr.  Alexander  brought  his  bride  to 
Dixon— Eliza  Howell,  a  sister  of  the  late  G.  L.  Howell.  She  is  said  to 
have  been  a  very  quiet,  retiring  person,  yet  a  delightful  companion  to 
those  who  were  privileged  to  know  her  intimately,  and  a  devoted  Chris- 
tian. She  brought  with  her  the  first  piano  in  the  town  (the  one  at  Haz- 
elwood  being,  probably,  the  only  other  one  then  in  the  country),  and  we 
can  well  imagine  that  her  musical  ability  was  fully  appreciated  in  the 
little  community.  She  was  a  woman,  too,  of  rare  self-possession  and 
moral  courage,  as  a  single  instance  will  show.  At  one  time  her  husband 
had  been  ill  for  many  weeks,  his  disease  baffling  Dr.  Everett's  skill  to 
such  an  exent  that  he  told  the  young  wife  that  the  remedy  he  was  about 
to  prescribe  was  his  last  hope.  If  that  failed  there  was  no  chance  for  her 
husband's  life.  Instead  of  yielding  to  tears  or  faintriess  she  returned  to 
the  sick  room  with  such  a  serene  face  that  her  very  presence  inspired 
hope  and  so  cheered  her  husband  that  his  recovery  dated  from  that  hour. 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  Alexander  spent  nearly  nine  years  in  Mrs.  Brooks'  home, 

—  338  — 


then  built  a  house  on  Water  street  (then  the  principal  street  of  the  town). 
They  lived  to  enjoy  the  fruits  of  their  patience  and  perseverence  in  their 
beautiful  home  in  North  Dixon  for  many  years,  but  Mrs.  Alexander's  life 
went  out  with  so  many  others  in  the  terrible  "bridge  disaster"  of  1873. 
Mr.  Alexander  is  still  among  us— honored  and  esteemed.  His  story  is  a 
good  lesson  to  the  young  men  of  the  present  day. 

Judge  Heaton,  whose  name  has  been  referred  to  several  times  in  these 
pages,  lived  early  in  the  "forties"  on  East  First  street.  His  wife  was  a 
most  amiable  woman,  and  one  whose  memory  the  few  surviving  women 
of  that  time  cherish  with  great  affection.  She  was  thrown  from  her 
carriage  and  killed  at  the  steps  of  the  old  Methodist  church  (now  J.  W. 
Kent's  home  on  Second  street),  her  babe,  Mar>,  being  saved  and  cared 
for  for  some  time  by  Mrs.  Everett. 

Judge  Heaton  later  married  Mrs.  Lucinda  McCouasey,  who  survived 
him  several  years.  She  was  a  most  motherly,  kind-hearted  woman,  beloved 
by  all  her  associates  and  remembered  in  many  a  Dixon  home  for  her 
thoughtful  kindnesses  and  her  cordial  hospitality.  Her  home  was  in  the 
house  now  occupied  by  Dr.  Garrison,  but  either  at  their  marriage  or  SOOH 
after  Judge  and  Mrs.  Heaton  moved  to  the  pretty  cottage  on  Third  street 
so  long  associated  with  their  names  and  faces,  where  they  made  a  happy 
home  for  their  group  of  children,  and  a  pleasant  assembly  point  for  their 
young  associates. 

The  first  blacksmith's  shop  was  on  Main  street,  and  the  first  smith 
lived  in  a  part  of  the  same  building.  In  1839  he  was  succeeded  in  business 
by  Horace  Preston,  a  brother-in-law  of  Judge  Wood,  and  long  a  well- 
known  citizen  of  Dixon.  He  worked  at  his  trade  here  for  fourteen  vears, 
then  went  to  his  farm  near  town.  His  daughters  are  still  living  here,  but 
he  and  his  gentle  wife  (a  sister  of  Judge  Wood)  have  joined  the  great 
multitude  beyond.  He  built  the  brick  house  still  standing  on  Peoria 
avenue  near  the  corner  of  Main  street  where  Col.  and  Mrs.  Cyrus  Aldrich 
lived  for  a  time,  afterwards  in  a  house  near  the  Main  street  arch,  built 
and  occupied  for  many  years  by  Judge  Wood.  The  Colonel  was  in  the  land 
office  here  and  widely  interested  in  the  sale  and  settlement  of  lands  about 
Dixon.  Mrs.  Aldrich  was  a  woman  of  superior  rank,  cultivated  and  re- 
fined, and  one  who  entertained  most  delightfully.  I  well  remember  the 
delights  of  her  hospitable  home,  and  the  childish  awe  with  which  I  lis- 
tened to  her  conversation  with  people  who  were  to  me  almost  too  great 
to  venture  to  address  in  any  ordinary  manner,  chief  among  them  Bayard 
Taylor.  They  removed  to  Minneapolis,  where  the  Colonel  died  some 
years  ago,  and  where  Mrs,  Aldrich  is  still  living.  In  the  house  where 

-339  - 


they  first  lived  there  lived  in  after  years  another  couple  of  whom  some 
mention  should  be  made,  though  they  are  not  strictly  old  settlers  of 
Dixon — Mr.  and  Mrs.  W.  W.  Harsha.  They  were  Illinois  pioneers  and 
well-known  all  through  the  northwest  part  of  the  state.  Mr.  Harsha  was 
the  first  pastor  of  the  Presbyterian  church  in  Dixon,  and  with  his  noble 
wife,  is  still  remembered  and  loved  by  many  both  in  and  out  of  that  com- 
munion. Ris  interesting  contribution  to  our  book  makes  this  reference 
an  entirely  proper  one,  and  their  pioneer  experiences  as  missionaries  to 
Northwestern  Illinois  would  add  greatly  to  the  interest  of  our  book  if 
Lee  county  could  claim  them  all. 

Another  house  long  associated  with  the  history  of  Dixon  stood  on 
Galena  avenue,  near  where  Mr.  J.  H.  Todd's  store  now  is,  and  was 
occupied  by  J.  B.  Brooks,  and  here  many  of  the  old  settlers  boarded  for 
years. 

Otis  Eddy  lived  just  above  this  place,  about  where  the  "Round  Corner 
Block"  is  now,  in  a  house  which  was  moved  to  Hennepin  street,  and 
owned  for  many  years  by  Hiram  S.  Mead.  Indeed  the  "residence  portion" 
of  the  town  was  clustered  about  the  corner  of  Main  and  Galena  streets, 
while  the  business  street  was  on  the  river  bank.  When  Mr.  O.  F.  Ayres 
built  the  stone  store,  which  has  since  been  replaced  by  the  Schuler  block, 
many  thought  him  very  unwise  to  build  so  far  out  of  town,  and  ladies 
dreaded  to  walk  down  across  the  slough  to  see  Mrs.  Heaton  because  pigs 
and  fleas  were  so  numerous  in  the  warm  sand  of  that  quarter. 

Judge  Wilkeson  also  lived  on  Galena  street,  but  further  down,  quite 
near  the  corner  of  River  street.  His  family  are  spoken  of  as  evincing 
refinement,  intelligence  and  culture,  as  well  as  more  wealth  than  most 
pioneers.  He  was  a  son  of  Judge  Wilkeson,  of  Buffalo,  a  very  able  man' 
and  one  of  the  original  stockholders  of  the  town — five  in  number. 
The  others  were  Col.  Wight,  of  Galena,  Father  Dixon,  Smith  Gilbraith 
and  James  Boyd,  of  Princeton. 

It  is  very  greatly  to  be  regretted  that  the  name  of  the  streets  in  North 
Dixon,  given  them  in  honor  oc  these  early  and  prominent  settlers,  should 
have  been  changed — thus,  in  time,  effacing  them  from  the  memory  of 
the  town. 

Judge  Wilkeson  built  the  first  saw-mill  in  the  county,  at  the  foot  of 
Peoria  street,  but  it  was  used  for  this  purpose  but  a  short  time,  being 
soon  converted  into  a  distillery,  the  chimney  of  which  so  deceived  Mr. 
Little  on  his  approach  to  the  town. 

The  first  brick  business  building  was  put  up  by  James  and  Horace 

—  340  — 


benjamin  in  1346,  just  where  Morton's  drug  store  is  now.  They  built  one- 
half  and  A.  T.  Murphy  the  other. 
D.  B.  McKinney  built  another  soon  after,  nearly  opposite. 

Nearly  opposite  the  Brooks  home,  on  Galena  street,  stood  a  neat  and 
(then)  roomy  brick  cottage,  the  home  of  E.  W.  Hine,  who  was  a  tailor, 
but  afterward  studied  law  and  was  for  a  long  time  Recorder  of  Deeds 
and  J.  P.  Many  of  us  still  remember  the  house,  standing  in  the  oncom- 
ing rush  of  business  blocks,  like  an  estrayed  and  frightened  child  in  a 
street  parade.  Mrs.  Hine  is  spoken  of  as  a  very  lovely  woman.  She,  with 
her  husband,  son  and  daughter  slipped  so  quietly  away  to  the  beyond, 
that  they  might  have  been  forgotten  by  the  next  generation  had  they 
not  written  their  names  with  such  as  Rockefeller's  and  Peabody's  as 
public  benefactors.  The  names  are  in  smaller  capitals  to  our  eyes,  but 
to  Him  who  "sees  not  as  man  seeth"  who  can  say  their  gift  was  less  than 
the  largest,  since  it  was  their  all?  They  gave  their  home  to  St.  Luke's 
church,  and  a  fine  business  block  (occupied  by  J.  H.  Morris  &  Son)  has 
taken  the  place  -of  the  old  house,  bringing  a  valuable  addition  to  the 
income  of  the  church. 

There  is  a  record  in  the  county  histories  to  the  effect  that  an  Episcopal 
church  was  organized  here  in  1837,  but  it  seems  impossible  to  add  to  this 
any  particulars,  and  difficult  to  trace  even  this  to  a  firm  foundation.  But 
from  a  document  yellow  with  age,  entitled  "A  Record  of  the  Proceedings 
•  of  St.  Peter's  Parish  in  Grand  Detour,"  we  learn  that  on  April  8th,  1847, 
at  six  o'clock  p.  m.,  a  meeting  was  held  at  the  house  of  S.  M.  Harris, 
where  forty-four  persons,  whose  names  are  given,  signed  an  agreement  to 
"associate  themselves  together  under  the  name  of  and  style  of  St. 
Peter's  church."  And  there  is  no  reason  to  doubt,  as  an  old  settler  tells 
us,  that  the  corner  stone  of  the  Episcopal  church  in  these  parts  was  the 
faiihful  devotion  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  House.  With  their  names  we  find 
associated  those  of  Paine,  Harris,  Cotton,  Cumins,  Bosworth,  Pank- 
hurst,  Andine,  and  others,  and  they  should  be  honored  by  some  nobler 
record  than  these  simple  lines,  yet  are  they  "writ  on  high."  Of  those 
who  met  on  that  memorable  evening  only  one  is  still  among  us;  a 
"mother  in  Israel"  beloved  and  honored  by  all  the  church — Mrs.  Laura 
C.  Paine.  Some  are  gone  to  other  homes,  some  swell  the  ranks  of  the 
Church  Triumphant  and  some  alas!  have  forgotten  their  pledge. 

The  Rev.  James  DePui,  an  Episcopal  minister,  came  to  Dixon  1837, 
and  both  Father  and  Mother  Dixon  were  so  anxious  that  some  minister 
should  settle  here,  and  became  so  warmly  attached  to  Mr.  DePui  that 
they  offered  him  his  choice  of  a  lot,  if  he  would  stay. 

—  341  — 


He  chose  to  locate  in  Korth  Dixon,  and  built  a  house  (now  owned  by 
Mr.  Kitchen)  on  the  block  where  Mr.  Parsons  now  lives.  When  the  town 
was  laid  out,  the  street  line  came  so  near  his  house  and  well  that,  Father 
Dixon  made  his  block  four  hundred  feet  instead  of  three  hundred.  The 
people  were  evidently  much  gratified  by  Mr.  DePui's  decision,  for  Mrs. 
Dixon  says  the  first  donat'on  party  ever  given  in  the  county  was  made 
for  him  soon  after  he  moved  into  the  house,  before  it  was  entirely  com- 
pleted. Mrs.  Dixon,  then  Miss  Sherwood,  and  her  future  sister-in-law, 
Mary  Dixon,  came  over  to  stay  all  day,  and  help  Mrs.  DePui  with  the 
dinner.  The  people  came  from  far  and  near,  through  the  whole  day. 
bringing  with  them  gifts  of  such  as  they  had,  all  cheerfully  given  and 
all  acceptable. 

There  was  so  many  hams  that  Mr.  DePui's  little  son,  who  saw  them 
hanging  in  the  unfinished  chamber,  was  utterly  dismayed,  and  told  his 
mother  they  "would  have  to  eat  ham  all  the  rest  of  their  lives."  After  all 
had  departed  and  the  family  were  preparing  for  the  night,  a  loud  rap 
sounded  on  the  back  door;  on  opening  it  they  found  the  last  donation, 
but  no  sign  of  the  donor.  It  was  a  wash  tub,  wash  board  and  broom. 

Farther  down  on  Main  street  was  a  house  where  lived  one  of  the  best 
of  the  "Old  Settlers" — one  who  has  robed  for  the  first  and  the  last  time, 
more  of  our  fellow-citizens  than  any  other  one  person — Aunt  Sally  Her- 
rick.  She  persistently  refuses  to  be  made  the  heroine  of  any  "story" — 
but  "her  works  do  follow  her,"  and  she  will  be  lovingly  remembered  as 
long  as  Dixon  has  a  history.  She  went  among  the  sick  and  afflicted, 
dressing  a  child  here,  making  a  bed  for  a  weary  sufferer  in  another  place, 
carrying  gruel  and  broth  to  those  who  had  poor  appetite  (or  little  to  sat- 
isfy it),  calling  the  attention  of  the  well-to-do  to  the  needs  of  the  poorer, 
and  all  so  quietly  that  it  was  as  if  it  had  been  done  by  some  unseen  hand. 
Not  infrequently  she  stood  by  the  sick  bed  while  Dr.  Everett  went  out  to 
get  suitable  bedding  to  make  a  comfortable  place  for  a  sufferer,  and  then 
leaving  him  she  would  go  home,  or  elsewhere,  for  fresh  underwear  for 
the  patient,  and,  perhaps,  for  a  poor,  unwelcome  baby.  One  old  settler 
says:  "If  any  pioneer  woman  deserves  to  be  mentioned  it  is  Aunt  Sally 
Herrick,  for  she  went  among  the  rich  and  poor,  night  and  day,  without 
thought  of  herself  until  it  seemed  as  if  the  people  could  not  have  lived 
without  her."  She  lived  first  in  a  house  on  Main  street,  but  soon  after 
her  husband  bought  a  shop  (he  was  a  carpenter)  and  she  begged  to  be 
allowed  to  "fix  it  up."  He  said  it  "was  all  right  now,"  but  before  he 
realized  what  she  was  doing,  she  had  whitewashed  walls  and  ceiling,  par. 
titioned  it  with  white  cloth,  and  made  of  the  old  building  the  most  tidy, 

—  342  — 


cheery  home  imaginable.  "And  1  was  the  proudest  Woman  you  eVef 
saw!"  Aunt  Sally  says.  Here  they  lived  until  Mr.  Herrick  built  the  house 
now  owned  by  Mrs.  Worthington:  from  there  they  moved  to  the  home 
where  Aunt  Sally  now  lives  on  West  Third  street,  which  was  so  far  out 
in  the  country  that  her  husband  thought  she  would  not  be  so  completely 
at  the  call  of  all  the  new  babies  and  recent  mourners.  The  first  night 
in  the  new  home  he  felt  quite  a  sense  of  security  but  before  midnight 
there  was  a  rap,  and  a  request  to  go  to  a  friend;  the  second  night  there 
was  another  call,  and  the  third  still  another,  so  Mr.  Herrick  finding  there 
was  no  safety  in  distance,  like  a  wise  man  held  his  peace. 

To  Mr.  Herrick  the  town  owed  its  first  hearse.  In  the  earlier  days 
the  coffins  were  carried  upon  a  bier,  by  the  bearers,  up  the  long  sandy 
road  to  the  cemetery.  Then  they  used  a  light  open  wagon,  but  Aunt 
Sally  said  she  ''got  so  tired  seeing  the  corpses  she  had  dressed  with  such 
care,  shook  up  in  that  wagon"  that  she  gathered  funds  from  all  possible 
sources  for  a  hearse.  When  it  came  it  had  no  trimmings  or  curtains,  so 
she  added  these  herself  and  fitted  it  up  in  the  most  becoming  style.  It 
must  have  been  a  comfort  to  others  beside  Aunt  Sally  to  see  the  bodies 
of  dear  friends  carried  in  the  more  suitable  vehicle, 

Up  the  river  Col.  Johnson  built  the  house  now  known  as  the  Van- 
Arnam  place,  but  called  in  early  days  the  "Steamboat  Hotel"  because  it 
was  built  with  a  long  central  room,  with  bedrooms  each  side1,  after  the 
manner  of  steamboats  Col.  Johnson  also  set  out  the  beautiful  row  of 
maples  along  the  river  bank  below  his  place,  which  add  so  much  beauty 
to  our  autumnal  landscape.  His  daughter  was  the  wife  of  Dr.  Nash, 
who  came  here  the  same  year  his  sister,  Mrs.  Sally  (Nash)  Herrick  did, 
1142.  Dr.  Nash  practiced  medicine  here  for  some  years,  but  finally,  in 
company  with  Silas  Noble  built  the  Union  Block,  in  which  he  opened  a 
drug  store,  which  he  kept  for  several  years  and  sold  to  B.  B.  Higgins. 
Dr.  Nash  built  the  house  in  which  D.  W.  McKenney  now  lives,  and  Silas 
Noble  the  one  owned  for  so  many  years  by  Mrs.  Ruth  Porter. 

Col.  Johnson  did  not  stay  here  very  long,  and  the  next  occupants  of 
his  house  were  a  couple  to  whom  Lee  county,  indeed  Northern  Illinois, 
owes  much — the  Rev.  and  Mrs.  Luke  Hitchcock.  As  pioneer  preacher 
and  presiding  elder,  Mr.  Hitchcock  travelled  all  through  these  parts. 
Always  a  devoted  Christian,  an  intelligent  citizen  and  a  faithful  friend, 
there  are  men  and  women  scattered  abroad  over  many  states  who  will 
rise  to  bear  witness  to  the  noble  record  of  Luke  Hitchcock  and  his  wife. 

Mrs.  Hitchcock's  sister,  Mr?.  O.  F.  Ayres  lived  in  a  small  house,  still 
standing,  just  above  the  home  of  our  venerable  ex-drayman  Dan  Bresna- 

—  343  — 


ban,  and  her  boys  used  to  run  across  tbe  hill  to  play  with  the  "Judson 
boys"  when  the  Rev.  Philo  Judson  lived  in  another  little  house,  back  of 
Col.  Johnson's.  Mr.  Ayres  was  also  a  minister,  but  owing  to  feeble 
health  never  took  charge  of  a  church  in  the  west.  However,  if  the  rec- 
ords were  searched,  they  would  doubtless  prove  that  he  married  more 
couples  and  attended  more  funerals  than  any  minister  in  Dixon.  Mrs. 
Ayres  survived  her  husband  many  years,  and  has  been  much  interested 
in  the  gathering  of  these  "Recollections,"  and  we  hoped  would  add 
something  to  these  pages. 

The  announcement  of  her  death  as  I  near  the  completion  of  this  paper 
brings  to  mind  the  last  time  we  met.  It  was  a  pleasant  evening  party 
at  the  home  of  her  son  D.  B.,  and  as  a  group  stood  about  her  she  most 
feelingly  referred  to  pioneer  days,  when  she  had  known  the  mothers  of 
many  present.  As  we  said  "good  night"  she  said  "good  nights  would  be 
sad,  were  it  not  for  the  thought  of  good  mornings"  and  one  added  "yes, 
'good  mornings'  in  the  Father's  House." 

I  have  spoken  of  Judge  Wood's  house  in  another  place,  but  Judge 
Wood  himself  should  have  more  extended  notice,  since  he  was  one  of  the 
first  lawyers  in  Dixon,  and  held  almost  continuously  some  legal  office, 
from  the  time  he  came  here  in  1842  till  his  death  a  few  years  since.  His 
first  wife  was  a  sister  of  Alonzo  Maxwell,  a  beautiful  little  woman  and 
the  mother  of  four  children.  His  second  wife  was  a  true  second  mother 
to  them  and  a  woman  of  most  lovely  character.  Her  death,  near  the 
time  of  business  reverses  left  hirn  a  saddened  and  broken-spirited  man, 
so  it  is  hard  for  those  who  knew  him  in  late  years  only,  to  realize  his  true 
worth. 

Daniel  and  Christopher  Brookner  came  here  in  1837.  Daniel  lived  in 
a  small  house  not  far  from  the  Washington  nouse,  now  occupied  by  Mrs. 
Hayes,  and  he,  with  his  wife  and  son  were  among  the  victims  of  the  chol- 
era epidemic.  Christopher  had  a  cabinet  and  furniture  store.  He  came 
to  this  country  from  Germany  in  1834  and  to  Dixon  in  1837.  He  is  said  to 
have  sought  the  comfort  of  domestic  life  rather  than  the  strife  of  public 
contest,  hesitating  to  push  himself  into  prominence,  but  his  industry,  re- 
liability and  integrity  gained  him  the  respect  and  esteem  of  all  who  knew 
him.  In  1846  he  married  Miss  Jane  Robinson,  who  had  recently  come 
here  from  Oberlin,  Ohio,  with  her  sister,  Mrs.  Chas.  Weed.  They  were 
married  in  the  house  where  they  afterward  lived,  where  the  bride  then 
boarded  with  Mrs.  Alonzo  Mead.  The  wedding  was  early  in  the  morn- 
ing, for  the  bridal  party  were  to  drive  to  Rockford  in  a  sleigh.  One  of 
Mrs  Mead's  family  remembers  how  in  the  efforts  of  the  children  to  get  a 

—  344  — 


peeo  at  the  ceremony  through  a  stoVe-pipe  hole,  soniebody  nearly  fell 
through,  and  how  "old  inaid  Cummins"  (as  the  veteran  school  ma'am  was 
called  when  her  back  was  turned)  vainly  tried  to  restore  order  and  quiet. 
Mrs.  Brookner  remembers  that  there  were  only  two  or  threp  houses  on 
the  north  side  of  the  river,  and  that  she  had  seen  deer  skip  from  the 
south  bank  to  the  island  through  the  clear,  shallow  water. 

Mr.  and  Mrs.  Brookner  lived  in  a  small  cottage  where  Mr.  Gaffney's 
livery  stable  now  stands  on  East  Main  street.  They  built  their  pleasant 
home  in  North  Dixon  in  1861. 

Up  to  1849  or  '50  there  were  no  houses,  except  those  named  heretofore, 
the  old  log  "block  house"  (about  where  Mr.  Schatzman's  house  is  now)  in 
North  Dixon,  and  an  old  "store"  a  little  above.  About  that  time  Mrs. 
Baker  built  her  house,  and  Judge  Eustace,  one  of  the  most  promising 
young  men  of  the  town,  the  house  now  owned  by  Jas.  B.  Charters,  and 
then  North  Dixon  grew  rapidly.  From  one  of  the  family  we  have  the 
following: 

"This  chapter  would  not  be  complete  without  a  brief  mention  of  the 
McKenney  family,  of  which  eleven  children,  (ten  sons  and  a  daughter) 
with  one  exception  made  Lee  county  their  home.  The  first  arrival  here 
was  D.  B.  McKenney,  who  came  in  1835.  In  the  spring  of  1836  his  father, 
Peter  McKenney,  came  from  Canada  to  join  him,  bringing  with  him  his 
wife  and  two  daughters,  Eliza  Ann  and  Catherine.  'Aunt  Rhoda,'  his 
wife,  was  one  of  the  most  amiable  and  kind  hearted  women  ever  known. 
She  is  said  to  have  had  a  kind  look  and  pleasant  word  for  all,  and  no  old 
settler  refers  to  her  without  some  term  of  respect  and  affection. 

The  next  fall  Daniel,  Robert,  John,  Frederick  and  James  came,  bring- 
ing their  families,  excepting  the  last  two.  Frederick  soon  after  married 
Catherine  Clute  in  Schenectady,  N.  Y.  "Uncle  Fred,"  and  "Auntie 
Fred"  were  the  endearing  names  by  which  they  were  well  known;  both 
are  now  dead,  leaving  two  sons  and  two  daughters  to  monrn  their  loss. 
James  was  married  on  New  Year's  Day,  1840,  to  Harriet  Whitney,  a 
daughter  of  Col.  Nathan  Whitney,  of  Franklin  Grove.  He  died  many 
years  since,  leaving  four  daughters.  Frederick  and  James  carried  on  a 
grocery  business  until  1849.  They  used  to  tell  many  interesting  stories  of 
their  trips  to  Chicago  to  buy  goods— of  sloughs  with  no  bottom,  and  streets 
in  Chicago  where  they  had  to  have  help  to  pull  their  wagons  out  of  the 
mud  with  great  chains.  With  the  family  of  Robert  McKenney  came  Dan- 
iel, Eliza  and  Caroline  Davis  and  two  helpers,  Susan  Alway  and  Wilmot 
Brown,  both  of  whom  found  husbands  and  settled  in  Dixon,  Eliza  Davis 
died  during  her  first  year  here,  being  too  frail  to  endure  pioneer  life. 

—  345  — 


Caroline  married  James  Benjamin,  leaving  at  her  death  a  family  of  five 
children.  Uncle  Peter  and  his  son  D.  B.  kept  the  Dixon  house,  (which 
they  built)  for  a  number  of  years,  selling  out  to  Henry  McKenney,  who 
came  with  Richard  from  Canada,  bringing  with  him  his  wife  Eusebia 
Nash,  afterward  Mrs.  Perry.  Matthew  McKenney  also  came  at  this  time 
and  died  here,  many  years  since.  Richard  McKenney  bought  a  farm  at 
Hickory  Grove,  where  he  died.  The  other  sons,  except  one,  and  the 
daughter,  afterward  joined  the  family  here  and  settled  in  this  vicinity. 

I  cannot  close  this  paper  without  referring  to  the  deep  impression  I 
have  received  in  the  talks  with  the  few  remaining  pioneer  women  of 
Dixon  and  vicinity,  on  the  subject  of  their  early  experiences,  many  of 
which  are  too  sacred  and  personal  for  even  these  pages.  There  is  no  more 
convincing  proof  of  the  reality  of  Christian  fortitude  or  the  worth  of 
Christian  character  than  the  story  of  their  pioneer  days.  They  had  little 
idea  of  the  career  of  latter-day  women,  but  they  had  all  the  elements  of 
character  which  today  would  have  given  them  a  high  rank  in  any  position 
where  circumstances  would  have  placed  them.  They  had  the  spirit  which 
inspires  the  true  soldier,  and  though  they  did  not  command  armies  or 
conquer  visible  foes,  they  organized  forces  far  less  amenable  to  disci- 
pline, they  fought  desperate  battles  uncheered  by  martial  music,  and 
conquered  enemies  more  unyielding,  gaining  for  their  daughters  a  peace- 
able heritage  of  civilization  which  these  annals  will,  we  trust,  enable 

them  to  more  fully  appreciate. 

SEPHIE  F.  G.  SMITH. 


Owr  F^rat  Seftoot 


BY  DR.   OLIVER  EVERETT  IN  1880, 


(Inserted  by  special  request.) 

IN  looking  over,  recently,  some  old  papers,  I  came  across  the  subscrip- 
tion paper  for  building  the  first  school  house  in  Dixon,  and  have 
thought  that  it  would  not  be  without  interest  to  many  of  our  readers. 
This  paper  was  got  up  in  January,  1837,  and  contains  many  names  famil- 
iar to  the  old  settlers.    The  subscription  paper  read  as  follows: 

We,  the  subscribers,  agree  to  pay  the  sum  severally  attached  to  our  names,  for  the 
purpose  of  erecting  a  school  house  in  the  town  of  Dixon.  Said  school  house  shall  be 
for  the  teaching  of  Primary  schools,  and  shall  be  open  for  religious  meetings  of  all 
denominations,  when  not  occupied  by  the  schools. 

Said  house  shall  be  one  story  high  and  at  least  forty  feet  by  twenty  on  the  ground, 
and  shall  contain  two  rooms  which  shall  be  connected  by  a  door  or  doors,  as  may  be 
thought  proper. 

The  subscribers  shall  meet  on  Monday,  the  20th  day  of  February  next,  at  6  o'clock 
P.  M.,  and  choose  three  trustees  to  superintend  the  building  of  said  house.  The  trust- 
ees shall  have  power  to  collect  the  money  subscribed,  contract  for  and  purchase  ma- 
terial for  said  house,  and  employ  workmen  to  do  the  same.  They  shall  see  that  it  is 
done  in  a  plain,  workmanlike  manner;  so  far  as  the  funds  shall  warrant. 


NAME. 

NAME. 

Jas.  P.  Dixon, 

$25  00 

John  Snyder, 

Oliver  Everett, 

25  00 

H  Martin. 

John  Wilson, 

25  05 

W.  P.  Burroughs, 

Caleb  Talmage, 

20  00 

John  Dixon, 

J.  B.  Barr, 

10  00 

I.  8.  Boardman, 

Samuel  Leonard, 

5  00 

A  friend. 

Jacob  Rue, 

5  00 

M.  McCabe. 

B.  B.  Brown, 

5  00 

Allen  Wiley. 

Samuel  Gatteu, 

6  00 

J.  W.  Hamilton, 

Edwin  Hine, 

5  00 

Geo.  L.  Chapman, 

Elijah  Dixon. 

15  00 

W.  H.  Eowe, 

Hiram  P.  Parks. 

10  00 

J.  W.  Dixon, 

John  Q.Adams. 

00  10 

E.  W.  Covill, 

(Expunged) 

E.  A.  Statia, 

Seth  D.  Brittain. 

20  00 

S.  W.  Johnson, 

If  he  settles  here. 

Robert  Murry, 

Lemuel  Huff. 

15  00 

Sam'l  C.  McClure, 

Alanson  Dickerman 

3  5  00 

Mrs.  E.  N.  Hamilton. 

5  00 

5  00 

15  00 

20  00 

10  00 

5  00 

10  00 

10  00 

5  00 

5  00 

10  00 

10  00 

25  00 

5  00 

10  00 

10  00 

15  00 

15  00 


Horace  Thompson, 
Mrs.  R.  Dixon. 
L,  D  Butler, 
M  L.  Dixon, 
Mrs.  A.  Talmage, 
Mrs.  M.  H.  Barr. 
J.  Muphey. 
N.  W.  Brown, 
8.  M.  Boyman, 
John  Richards, 
C.F.  Hubbard. 
W.  W.  Graham. 
T.  L.  Hubbard. 
John  Carr. 
George  Kip. 
Wm.  Graham, 


5  oo 

30  00 

s  oo 

6  00 
5  00 

1000 
W  00 
5  00 
10  00 
10  00 
5  00 
5  00 
5  00 
5  00 
5  00 
5  00 


—  347 


It  will  be  noticed  that  many  of  the  subscribers  were  persons  living 
some  distance  in  the  country,  and  of  those  who  came  to  the  country  dur- 
ing the  next  season.  The  reason  that  Father  Dixon's  name  was  not  at  or 
near  the  head  of  the  list  is  that  he  was  away  that  winter  in  Vandalia, 
tne  the  capital  of  the  state.  It  may  also  be  noticed  that  the  matter 
dragged  somewhat,  as  such  enterprises  often  do,  and  the  ladies  took  it  up, 
Mrs.  Dixon  giving  the  largest  subscription  on  the  list  and  Mrs.  Hamilton 
a  generous  amount.  Again  it  may  be  noticed  that  one  John  Q.  Adams, 
not  our  present  John  Q.  Adams,  but  an  unworthy  bearer  of  a  great  name, 
in  subscribing  put  two  00  where  the  dollars  ought  to  have  been,  making 
his  subscription  but  10  cents.  When  his  attention  was  called  to  it  he  said 
it  was  just  as  he  intended  to  have  it.  His  name  was  dealt  with  as  was 
fashionable  at  that  time — it  was  expunged. 

The  old  school  house  was  built  during  the  summer  of  1837  of  the  size 
and  frame  specified  in  the  subscription  paper,  about  twenty  rods  west  of 
the  cemetery,  on  or  near  lot  one,  block  sixty-nine,  now  occupied  by  Harry 
Smith.  It  was  built  perfectly  plain,  without  a  cornice,  and  enclosed 
with  undressed  oak  siding  and  a  hard  wood  shingle  roof.  The  inside 
consisted  of  two  rooms,  one  six  feet  by  twenty  extending  across  the  end 
of  the  building,  serving  as  an  entrance  way  or  vestibule  to  the  main 
room,  which  was  twenty  by  thirty-four  feet,  with  three  windows  on 
either  side  and  one  at  the  end  of  the  room  opposite  the  entrance.  It  was 
plastered  on  the  inside  with  a  single  coat  of  coarse  brown  mortar,  and 
was  warmed  during  winter  with  a  wood  fire  in  a  large  box  store.  In  1839 
it  was  moved  down  on  to  the  north  end  of  lot  five,  block  seventeen,  on  the 
east  side  of  Ottawa  street,  just  south  of  the  residence  of  Dr.  Nash,  now 
occupied  by  Daniel  McKenney,  fronting  to  the  north  upon  the  alley. 
There  it  remained  for  several  years,  and  was  used  for  school  house,  meet- 
ing house  and  court  house  (the  first  three  terms  of  the  Circuit  Court  of 
Lee  County  were  held  in  it).  Elections  and  political  meetings  and  con- 
ventions were  held  in  it,  and  it  was  always  used  for  whatever  other  pur- 
pose the  people  might  congregate. 

The  old  school  house  was  very  plain,  rough  and  uninviting  to  look  up- 
on, but  there  are  many  recollections  associated  with  it  which  are  always 
dwelt  upon  by  the  earlv  settlers  with  great  interest,  and  should  make  the 
memory  of  it  dear  to  the  people  of  Dixon  It  was  within  its  rough  brown 
walls  that  the  venerable  and  revered  Bishop  Chase,  then  Senior  Bishop  of 
the  American  Eniscopal  church,  first  preached  to  the  scattered  members 
of  his  fold  as  were  hereabout,  and  broke  to  them  the  bread  of  the  sacra- 
ment, and  where  Rev.  James  DePui,  a  man  of  rare  culture  and  gentle 

—  348  — 


and  genial  social  qualities,  preached  for  more  than  twelve  months.  It 
was  there  that  the  Methodist  and  Baptist  churches  of  this  place  were 
formed  and'nurtured  in  their  infancy. 

The  Rev.  Dr.  Hitchcock  and  the  Rev.  Philo  Judson,  who  for  nearly 
half  a  century  have  been  among  the  foremost  laborers  in  the  great  and 
beneficent  organization  to  which  they  belong,  then  in  the  vigor  of  early 
manhood,  each  preached  his  two  years  there.  The  Rev.  Thomas  Powell, 
a  devoted  missionary  of  the  Baptist  denomination,  well  known  among 
the  early  settlers  of  no  inconsiderable  portion  of  the  state  for  his  indefat- 
igable and  faithful  service  in  the  religious  interest  of  the  people,  then 
often  living  remote  from  each  other  and  either  destitute  or  but  poorly 
supplied  with  competent  religious  teachers;  often  held  services  in  the  old 
school  house,  and  officiated  at  the  formation  of  the  Baptist  church  of 
Dixon.  Also  the  Rev.  Burton  Carpenter,  the  remembrance  of  whose  la- 
bors here  is  cherished  by  many  of  the  old  settlers,  and  who,  in  the  high 
standing  he  afterwards  attained  in  the  denomination  to  which  he  be- 
longs, and  in  a  life  of  great  usefulness  in  another  part  of  the  state  he  has 
not  disappointed  the  expectations  of  his  early  friends;  commenced  his 
labors  in  the  ministry  and  preached  about  three  years  in  this  same  old 
school  house.  During  nearly  the  whole  time  religious  services  were  held 
in  the  old  school  house,  the  Methodist  and  Baptist  congregations  occu- 
pied it  alternate  Sundays,  the  Methodist  clergyman  preaching  at  Inlet 
Grove  or  Sugar  Grove,  and  Mr.  Carpenter  at  Buffalo  Grove  the  interven- 
ing Sabbaths. 

In  the  spring  of  1840  there  was  a  convention  of  the  Whig  party  of  the 
Jo  Daviess  representative  district,  which  embraced  the  whole  north- 
western part  of  the  state,  held  at  the  school  house,  and  Thomas  Drum- 
niond,  known  in  this  generation  as  Judge  Drummnnd  of  the  United  States 
Court  at  Chicago,  then  a  youag  lawyer  of  Galena,  was  nominated  as  a 
candidate  for  member  of  the  House  of  Representatives  in  the  State  Leg- 
islature. He  represented  an  extent  of  territory  now  constituting  nearly 
two  congressional  districts.  Among  the  teachers  in  the  old  school  house 
was  the  late  lamented  W.  W  Heaton,  whom  the  citizens  of  Dixon  have 
seen  rise  by  his  industry  and  legal  acquirements  from  the  school  mas- 
ter's chair  to  the  bench. 

In  the  beginning  of  the  year  1843  the  Methodist  church  was  finished 
and  dedicated  and  the  court  house  was  so  far  completed  that  the  courts 
were  held  in  it  and  was  used  for  religious  and  political  meetings,  and  the 
old  school  house  fell  into  comparative  disuse. 


0\i/r  Sefioof^  at  arc  Earf^/  Dav. 


DURING  the  first  few  years  after  the  settlement  of  the  place  there 
were,  of  course,  no  schools,  as  there  were  not  a  sufficient  number  of 
children  to  support  one,  but  Mr.  Dlxon  kept  up  a  family  school, 
more  or  less  regularly,  for  the  education  of  his  own  children,  and  em- 
ployed for  this  purpose  a  young  lady  from  Bureau  county,  by  the  name  of 
Butler.  This  was  the  only  school  taught  in  this  region  until  the  year 
1838.  The  previous  year  the  citizens  here  erected  a  school  house  on  a  spot 
not  far  from  where  Mrs.  Truman  now  resides,  and  the  first  school  was 
opened  in  1838  by  Mr.  Bicknell.  It  was  small  and  supported  by  individual 
tuition  fees.  For  the  next  two  or  three  years  this  school  house  was  used 
for  a  variety  of  purposes,  being  the  only  public  building  in  the  town. 

In  1840  Mr.  Bowen  was  in  charge  of  the  school  for  a  short  time,  but 
by  his  own  indiscretion  shortened  his  stay.  Concerning  his  ability  as  a 
teacher  I  have  been  able  to  learn  but  little.  One  incident,  however,  will 
serve  to  show  why  he  did  not  prolong  his  term  He  one  day  gave  notice 
that  he  wished  his  pupils  to  come  early  the  next  morning,  as  he  had 
a  great  natural  curiosity  to  exhibit  to  them.  Mr.  Bowen  then  prepared 
to  fulfill  his  part  of  the  contract,  and  the  next  morning  he  climbed  up 
through  the  scuttle  and  located  himself  there  in  the  character  of  a  bear, 
making  all  kinds  of  grimaces  in  close  imitation  of  that  exceedingly 
beautiful  (?)  animal  as  the  pupils  entered.  Boys  were  boys  then,  as 
now,  and  ever  will  be,  I  doubt  not,  and  were  not  slow  to  seize  so  good  an 
opportunity  for  some  fun.  They  accordingly  pronounced  him  a  bear 
indeed,  and  forthwith  commenced  an  attack  upon  the  savage  animal 
with  clubs  and  poles,  so  that  poor,  bruin  was  unable  to  descend  and  again 
assume  his  human  form.  This  gave  rise  to  so  much  ridicule  and  sport 
that  Mr.  Bowen  could  never  recover  his  pedagogical  dignity,  and  was 
finally  compelled  to  abandon  the  school. 

In  the  winter  of  1841-42  W.  W.  Heaton,  then  a  young  lawyer,  taught 
the  school,  receiving,  like  his  predecessors,  compensation  for  tuition,  and 
this  not  always  in  money,  as  corn,  pork,  potatoes,  or  any  other  product 

—  350  — 


that  could  be  used  in  a  family,  were  gladly  given  and  received  for  the 
labors  and  trials  of  the  teacher.  In  this  time  the  number  of  pupils  had 
largely  increased,  so  that  in  number  and  efficiency  the  school  was  now 
quite  creditable.  Among  those  attending  school  that  year  were:  Orlando 
and  Jane  Ann  Herrick  (Mrs.  H.  T.  Noble,)  George  Foot  and  Mrs.  D.  B. 
McKenney. 

Mr.  Heaton's  path  seems  to  have  been  no  smoother  than  that  of  the 
teacher  of  the  present  day,  and  corporal  punishment  was  not  discarded 
then,  any  more  than  now,  as  the  following  will  show.  Having  severely 
castigated  one  of  the  boys,  the  father  became  very  much  enraged,  and 
made  bitter  complaints  to  O.  F.  Ayres,  then  one  of  the  school  directors, 
and  threatened  to  wreak  summary  vengence  on  "that  little  stripling 
up  there  in  that  school."  Such  direful  calamity  was,  however,  averted 
through  the  intercession  of  Mr.  Ayres,  and  the  exasperated  parent  has 
ever  since  been  a  firm  friend  to  Judge  Heaton.  The  Judge's  disciplinary 
powers  were  excellent,  as  some  other  of  his  pupils  can  testify  from  sor- 
rowful experience. 

About  this  time  a  dispute  arose  as  to  the  title  of  the  lot  on  which  the 
school  house  stood;  the  party  claiming  the  lot  also  insisting  upon  holding 
the  building.  This  view  of  the  matter  was  not  at  all  pleasing  to  the 
tax  payers  of  the  district,  and  not  having  the  utmost  confidence  in  the 
promptness  or  justice  of  the  courts,  they  sought  a  solution  of  thedifficulty 
by  a  more  summary  process.  They  determined,  while  night's  sable  man- 
tle was  drawn  over  earthly  scenes,  that,  by  spiritual  or  muscular  power, 
or  both,  they  would  cause  the  said  school  building  to  remove  from  this 
disputed  territory  to  a  more  secure  abiding  place.  John  Hogan,  Esq., 
now  ex-member  of  congress  from  St.  Louis,  originated,  planned  and  con- 
ducted the  enterprise,  aided  largely  by  A.  L.  Porter,  who  as  all  know, 
was  well  calculated  to  assist  in  such  work.  N.  G.  H.  Morrill  was  on 
hand  to  superintend  the  special  work  of  removal,  and  then  exhibited  the 
same  skill  in  the  business  that  he  has  shown  so  many  times  since.  On 
that  memorable  night  he  took  some  of  his  first  lessons  in  the  business  of 
removals,  which  he  has  since  followed  faithfully  to  tne  present  time. 
Mr.  Heaton  wa«  roused  from  his  midnight  slumbers  to  be  present,  and 
see  that  the  business  should  be  done  in  a  strictly  legal  (?)  manner,  and 
many  of  our  citizens  yet  remember  the  gentle  tap  at  their  windows  that 
night,  and  the  mysterious  whisper,  "We're  all  ready!"  and  with  the 
alacrity  of  veterans  they  obeyed  the  call.  The  expedition,  under  charge 
of  the  above  named  officers,  and  with  full  ranks,  proceeded  in  the  still- 
ness of  the  night  to  the  scene  of  conflict.  No  rattle  of  the  drum,  nor 

—  351  —  . 


roar  of  cannon  stirred  the  midnight  air,  as  with  the  firmness  of  despera- 
tion they  proceeded  to  accomplish  their  design.  But  when  the  building 
slid  over  the  line  of  the  disputed  lot  and  was  landed  securely  on  undis- 
puted soil,  the  evening  skies  echoed  to  three  hearty  cheers  from  the  vic- 
tors. The  morning  sun  looked  down  upon  the  scene  and  saw  the  build- 
ing quietly  resting  on  peaceful  soil,  where  it  was  used  for  some  time  there- 
after for  school  purposes.  It  was  afterwards  removed  to  the  lot  now 
occupied  by  S.  S.  Dodge's  jewelry  store,  and  having  been  used  as  a  gro- 
cery, hardware  and  drug  store,  was  finally  consumed  in  the  great  fire  of 
1858. 

Miss  Ophelia  Loveland,  (Mrs.  J.  B.  Brooks)  taught  the  school  during 
the  summer  of  1843,  while  the  school  house  stood  on  the  lot  now  oc- 
cupied by  the  residence  of  D.  W.  McKenney,  which  was  its  stopping 
place  at  the  time  of  its  nocturnal  journey.  The  district  then  included 
both  sides  of  the  river,  and  extended  up  the  river  as  far  as  Mr.  Fuller's 
place,  and  yet  the  school  numbered  but  about  twenty-five  pupils.  Among 
these  were  Miss  Helen  Williams  (now  Mrs.  Mulkins),  and  Miss  Elizabeth  . 
and  Master  James  Ayres.  One  boy,  still  well  known  in  this  city,  was 
punished  severely  for  swearing,  but  his  after  habits  plainly  demonstrated 
that  corporal  punishment,  at  least  one  dose,  is  not  a  complete  cure  for 
profanity.  An  amusing  incident  occurred  that  summer  among  the  little 
boys.  Frank  Dixon,  son  of  John  W.  Dixon,  on  his  way  to  school  one 
morning,  found  a  small  piece  of  tobacco  which  he  carefuily  deposited  in 
his  pocket  and  took  with  him.  At  recess  he  called  all  the  boys  around 
him  and  told  them  he  had  something  good  which  he  would  divide  with 
them.  He  accordingly  did  so,  giving  a  small  piece  of  the  treasure  to 
each  one  of  the  boys  except  his  little  brother  Elijah,  telling  them  the 
men  said  it  was  good,  and  instructing  them  to  chew  it  well,  and  swallow 
all  the  juice.  The  little  fellows  followed  his  example  and  advice  closely, 
and  very  soon  after  recess  began  to  ask  to  go  home,  complaining  that 
they  were  very  sick  and  didn't  know  what  made  them  so.  The  truth 
was  finally  ascertained  from  Little  Elijah  Dixon,  who  alone  was  able  to 
give  a  clear  statement,  and  the  sick  ones  were  sent  borne  for  medical 
treatment.  Frank,  the  leader  of  the  enterprise,  has  never  since  found 
it  to  his  advantage  to  use  tobacco.  During  these  years  the  school  was 
frequently  taught  by  ladies.  I  have  obtained  the  names  of  Miss 
Elizabeth  Johnson,  (Mrs.  J.  B.  Nash),  and  a  Miss  Curtis,  sister  of  Mr, 
Seavy,  of  Sugar  Grove,  and  Mrs.  L.  A.  Eamsay. 

During  the  winter  of  1843-4  the  school  was  taught  by  Lorenzo  Wood, 
(Judge  Wood,  of  this  city.)    There  were  in  attendance  at  the  school 

—  353  — 


winter  a  very  interesting  cl.iss  of  young  people,  several  coming  in  from 
the  country  around,  so  that  this  winter's  school  is  rembered  with 
much  satisfaction  by  many  of  our  citizens,  because  of  its  pleasant  asso- 
ciations and  the  thorough  instructions  given  by  the  teacher.  Among 
the  pupils  names  are  found  those  of  Miss  Sybil  VanArnam,  (Mrs.  E.  B. 
Stiles),  and  Mrs.  A.  R.  Whitney,  of  Franklin  Grove. 

Between  the  years  1«U<>  and  1849,  the  school  was  taught  by  Mr.  Cross 
and  Mr.  James  Lumm.  Of  the  former  I  have  been  able  to  learn  but  little; 
he  taught  a  portion  of  the  time  in  the  public  schools.  He  was  somewhat 
deformed,  his  hands  being  somewhat  drawn  out  of  shape  by  rheumatism' 
and  the  universal  testimony  of  the  boys  was  that  his  fingers  were  apt  to 
become  so  bady  entangled  in  their  hair  that  it  was  not  only  very  difficult 
but  very  painful  to  disengage  them.  His  school  was  fair,  however,  con- 
sidering the  conveniences,  or  rather  inconveniences  by  which  he  was  sur- 
rounded. In  1847  James  Lumm  took  charge  of  the  school.  He  was  very 
rigid  in  his  discipline,  and  in  his  efforts  to  bring  the  school  up  to  his 
standard  in  point  of  order  and  efficiency  he  met  with  much  opposition 
and  many  complaints  were  made  to  the  directors,  but  the  general  feeling 
of  the  community  was  largely  in  favor  of  the  school,  and  the  interest  in 
school  matters  seemed,  during  Mr.  Lumm's  administration,  to  increase 
steadily.  He  was  an  amateur  in  natural  history,  and  during^his  stay  in 
Dixon  devoted  considerable  time  and  labor  to  the  preparation  of  speci- 
mens in  the  various  departments  of  this  science.  Dr.  Everett,  of  our 
city,  whose  collections  of  Geological,  Botanical  and  Ornithological  speci- 
mens is  among  the  best  private  collections  in  the  state,  was  assisted  by 
Mr.  Lumm  in  its  preparation  When  Mr.  Lumm  removed  to  Oregon, 
on  leaving  Dixon,  and  while  pursuing  other  business,  he  still  continued 
his  pastime.  Several  years  after  he  had  gone  west,  one  of  his  old  friends 
from  Dixon  sought  to  visit  him  at  his  home  in  Oregon.  After  making 
many  inquiries  concerning  him,  he  was  directed  to  a  humble  cabin  in  an 
obscure  place,  to  a  man  who  spent  most  of  his  time  among  bugs,  birds 
and  animals.  He  went  there  and  found  his  old  friend  surrounded  by  his 
gathered  specimens,  embracing  the  various  species  from  the  tiniest  in- 
sect to  the  huge  grizzly  bear.  This  collection  Mr.  Lumm  afterwards 
took  to  California  and  sold  for  thirty  thousand  dollars.  During  these 
years,  from  1842.  Mr.  O.  F.  Ayres  and  Dr.  Nash  were  elected  and  re- 
elected  year  after  year  to  the  office  of  school  directors  and  bore  the  burden 
and  labors  atiendant  upon  the  oversight  of  schools  in  a  new  country,  in 
a  praiseworthy  manner. 

In  1848  Mr.  Kay  was  employed  to  teach;  he  was  a  man  of  singular  com- 

—  353  — 


position  and  imparted  considerable  of  his  singularity  to  his  school.  He 
was  finely  educated  and  possessed  a  remarkable  power  of  illustration, 
making  difficult  points  very  clear  to  his  pupils,  while  on  the  other  hand 
he  was  extremely  visionary  and  impratctical  in  many  things.  His  success 
as  a  teacher  was  not  remarkable,  as  bis  eccentricies  predominated  and 
exhibited  themselves  very  prominently  in  his  administration  of  school 
affairs.  He  sometimes  left  the  school  to  go  down  town  for  business  or 
pleasure,  locking  the  children  in,  ami  as  may  be  imagined,  ihe  school- 
room presented  a  scene  highly  gratifying  to  lovers  of  fun.  Once  when  a 
boy  made  his  appearance  at  school  with  a  cigar  in  his  mouth,  Mr.  Mc- 
Kay very  cooly  appropriated  the  contraband  weed  to  his  own  private  use, 
and  composedly  smoked  it  in  the  presence  of  the  owner  and  the  rest  of 
his  pupils. 

During  the  years  1851  and  1852  the  school  was  under  the  charge  of  Col, 
H.  T.  Noble;  he  was  employed  most  of  the  time  on  a  salary  of  forty  dol- 
lars a  month.  Even  as  late  as  that  time  the  public  sentiment  concerning 
school  matters  was  very  loose,  and  the  material  and  conveniences  for  a 
school  extremely  crude.  The  old  school  house  has  been  abandoned  and 
a  new  stone  building  erected  in  the  rear  of  the  Nachusa  house,  since  re- 
placed by  Mrs.  Burke's  residence.  The  school  house  was  very  loosely  built 
and  being  hgated  by  a  fireplace  in  oneend  it  was  very  cold  in  winter,  and 
one  lady  still  remembers  with  great  distinctness  tnat  she  froze  her  heel  in 
that  school  room  one  cold  day.  But  with  all  these  disadvantages,  though 
the  energy  and  tact  of  Col.  Noble,  the  school  was  by  no  means  inefficient, 
and  the  recollection  of  those  days  brings  pleasant  memories  to  many  now 
residing  in  this  city.  Among  the  older  pupils  at  this  tiuie  were  Mrs.  H.  T. 
Noble,  Mrs.  Soule,  Mrs.  Hollenback  and  Mrs.  B.  F.  Shaw.  The  loose  ideas 
prevalent  in  the  community  concerning  school  discipline  rendered  it  very 
difficult  to  maintain  anything  like  proper  order.  A  refusal,  op  the  part 
of  the  teacher  to  allow  the  pupil  to  roam  about  the  schoolrom  ad  libitum 
or  sit  with  such  of  his  schoolmates  as  he  might  choose,  was  considered 
sufficient  cause  for  leaving  school,  and  in  very  many  cases  the  parents 
upheld  the  child  in  this  spirit  of  insubordination. 

The  school  becoming  somewhat  too  large  for  the  small  room  in  which 
it  was  held,  a  primary  department  was  started  in  the  spring  of  1852  in 
the  court  house,  under  the  charge  of  Miss  Jane  Ann  Herrick.  During 
Col.  Noble's  administration  the  location  of  the  Illinois  Central  R.  R. 
through  Dixon  was  decided  upon  and  great  excitement  prevailed  through- 
out the  town  and  vicinity.  Col.  Noble(  in  his  enthusiasm,  went  to  his 
school-room  and  in  a  stirring  speech  announced  the  glorious  event  to  his 

—  354  — 


pupils  and  in  the  height  of  his  anticipations  promised  them  all  a  ride 
on  the  R.  R.  "clear  through  to  Mobile."  Many  of  the  pupils  are  still 
awaiting  the  ride  anxiously. 

Another  little  incident  occurred  that  seems  worthy  of  record.  John 
Gilbrath,  then  quite  a  lad,  frequently  obtained  permission  from  his 
mother  to  return  home  at  three  o'clock,  but  one  day  she  refused  to  give 
his  usual  written  note  to  the  teacher,  and  on  his  way  to  school  he  ap- 
plied to  J.  B.  Brooks,  then  a  merchant  in  the  place,  for  one.  Mr.  Brooks 
being  busy,  Mr.  Alexander,  then  a  clerk  in  the  store,  said  he  would  write 
it  for  him.  He  did  so,  and  hanrled  the  note  neatly  folded  to  Master  John 
who,  with  a  light  heart  and  smiling  face,  tripped  into  the  school-room 
and  presented  it  to  his  teacher.  Mr.  Noble  read  it  carefully  and  burst 
into  a  loud  laugh.  "John,"  said  he,  "do  you  know  what  this  is?''  "Yes 
sir,  it  is  a  request  for  me  to  be  dismissed  at  three  o'clock."  I  think  you 
are  mistaken.  It  says:  'Here  is  a  boy  who  needs  a  flogging— and  if  you 
don't  give  it  to  him  I  will.'"  Johnnie  "slid." 

C.  N.  Levanwaj,  then  a  young  law  student,  taught  the  school  in  the 
years  1852  and '53,  continuing  still  in  the  old  stone  building,  the  school 
remaining  much  the  same  in  the  character  of  the  instruction  and  num- 
ber of  pupils,  as  during  the  preceding  years.  Mr.  Levanway  afterward 
settled  in  this  city  as  a  lawyer,  and  so  continued  until  the  breaking  out 
of  the  rebellion,  when  he  enlisted  in  the  34th  Illinois  Regiment.  He  was 
elected  Major  and  served  nobly  the  cause  he  loved,  and  was  killed  while 
ordering  his  regiment  to  advance,  at  the  battle  of  Pittsburg  Landing. 

F.  A.  Soule  succeeded  him  in  the  principalship  of  the  school,  still 
teaching  in  the  old  stone  building,  with  nothing  special  in  the  character 
of  the  school  to  distinguish  it  from  that  of  the  few  previous  years. 

In  1853  William  Barge  assumed  control  of  the  schools,  and  continued 
in  charge  until  1859.  Under  his  direction  and  excellent  management, 
the  school  took  the  form,  character  and  efficiency  of  a  graded  school.  He 
taught  a  portion  of  the  time  in  the  same  old  stone  building,  but  that  was 
finally  abandoned  and  the  school  transferred  to  a  building  known  as 
the  ''Land  Office,"  now  used  by  S.  A.  Vann  as  a  residence.  The  old  stone 
building  having  become  wholly  unsuitable  for  school  purposes,  the  school 
directors  were  compelled  to  rent  such  rooms  as  they  could  find,  and  some 
of  the  time  they  were  unable  to  find  any.  Under  these  circumstances  it 
became  necessary  to  provide  a  larger  and  better  school  hous.  [Several  pub- 
lic meetings  were  held  and  after  fully  discussing  the  matter  it  was  decided 
to  go  forward  and  build,  and  the  result  was  the  erection  of  the  "Uuion 
School  Building"  on  Peoria  street,  in  1855,  at  a  cost  of  $6,000.  The  place 

—  355  — 


now  occupied  by  J.  C.  Ayres'  house.  This  building,  through  the  presist- 
ence  of  Mr.  Barge,  was  furnished  wilh  Chase's  patent  school  seats,  be- 
lieved to  be  about  the  first  patent  school  furniture  ever  introduced  into 
the  state,  the  old  wooden  desks  then  being  in  use  in  Chicago.  The  schools 
now,  owing  to  the  better  accommodations  furnished,  and  the  improved 
methods  of  teaching  adopted,  made  such  marked  progress  that  they 
merited  and  received  the  cordial  support  of  the  community.  To  Mr. 
Barge  must  be  accorded  the  honor  of  organizing  the  first  graded  school 
ever  taught  in  our  city.  As  soon  as  the  new  building  was  ready  for  occu- 
pancy it  was  filled,  and  'the  school  was  recommenced  with  a  new  impetus. 
In  1858  a  high  school  department  was  established  in  the  Methodist  church 
building  and  A.  H.  Fitch  was  elected  principal. 

A,  M.  Gow,  in  1859,  was  employed  as  superintendent  of  schools,  and 
James  Gow  was  principal  of  the  high  school.  The  school  then  consisted 
of  five  departments  and  had  an  enrollment  of  about  four  hundred.  These 
gentlemen  continued  in  charge  of  the  school  until  1862,  when  the  writer 
was  elected  to  act,  at  once  as  superintendent  of  schools  and  principal  of 
the  high  school,  in  which  capacity  he  has  labored  twenty-one  years- 
There  has  been  a  constant  increase  in  the  number  of  pupils  since  1864 
and  the  buildings  owned  and  occupied  by  the  district  being  found  too 
small,  for  two  or  three  years  rooms  were  rented  in  various  parts  of  the 
city  to  accommodate  the  new  departments  which  it  was  found  necessary 
to  form. 

In  1867,  however,  it  was  determined  to  erect  a  new  school  building 
which  should  be  suited  to  the  wants  of  the  school  in  size,  plan  and  ap~ 
pearance.  By  a  vote  so  nearly  unanimous  as  to  show  the  general  feeling 
in  the  community  in  favor  of  good  public  schools,  the  directors  were 
authorized  to  borrow  money  on  the  bonds  of  the  school  district  to  the 
amount  of  thirty  thousand  dollars,  to  be  appropriated  to  the  erection  of 
a  good  school  house,  and  in  September,  1869,  we  were  permitted  to  enter 
our  new  and  elegant  building  Very  great  credit  should  be  awarded  to 
the  gentlemen  then  composing  the  Board  of  School  Directors,  Messrs.  J. 
A.  Hawley,  H.  D.  Dement  and  David  Welty,  for  the  faithful  manner  in 
which  they  performed  their  duties,  especially  for  the  economy  which  they 
practiced  in  extending  the  funds  in  the  erection  of  the  building.  I  have 
traveled  considerably  through  the  state,  have  examined  many  of  the 
best  school  buildings,  and  am  conviaced  that  we  may  challenge  the 
state  in  having  the  best  buildings,  for  the  money,  wiihin  her  borders. 

The  later  history  of  our  schools  is  sufficiently  familiar  to  make  it  un 
necessary  to  record  it  here.     The  schools  on  the  north  side  are  of  too  re- 
cent date  to  be  numbered  among  the  pioneers. 

E.  C.  SMITH. 


ip  oj^  »H  armors 


oj1  Har  122012. 


HARMON,  in  the  southwest  part  of  Lee  County,  was  settled  in  1853, 
and  while  to  the  elder  residents  of  their  parts  of  the  county  it 
would  seem  absurd  to  call  this  an  early  day,  to  those  who  partici- 
pated in  that  event  it  was  a  grim,  hard  realitj,  savoring  much  of  heroism, 
and  bringing  out  the  stern  qualities  of  human  nature  that  are  character-, 
istic  of  the  homesteader  and  early  settler. 

Permit  me  to  say  that  the  homestead  laws  of  our  country  developed  a 
class  somewhat  like  the  gypsies.  Homesteading  was  simply  done  for 
gain.  A  man  was  John  Smith  in  Nebraska  and  Tom  Brown  in  Kansas, 
and  as  soon  as  the  real  settler  followed  and  bought  him  out  he  "moved 
on,"  simply  "squatting"  for  gain,  devoid  of  the  homing  instinct. 

Lee  County  was  settled  before  the  enactment  of  the  homestead  laws 
by  people  who  came  west  to  obtain  lands  to  live  on  and  make  homes  of. 
These  people  were  sturdy  and 'law-abiding,  bringing  their  religious  and 
coscientious  practices  of  right  and  wrong  with  them.  Both  Dhe  early 
settler  and  the  homesteader  are  great  civilizers,  and  endure  hardships 
of  which  those  who  follow  later  have  no  conception.  Such  people  are 
the  "salt  of  the  earth." 

In  1853,  John  D.  Rosbrook,  with  three  sons,  came  from  Niagara 
County,  New  York,  and  settled  at  the  "Lake,"  a  clear  body  of  sparkling 
water  covering  nearly  forty  acres  on  quite  a  rise  of  ground  in  what  has 
since  been  known  as  Harmon  Township.  For  nearly  a  year  they  "kept 
bach"  in  a  small  house.  There  was  not  a  habitation  in  sight,  the  nearest 
dwelling  was  eight  miles  away,  and  for  years  this  Rosbrook  place  at  the 
lake  was  known  as  the  ce  nter  of  the  settlement,  and  the  points  mentioned 
diverge  from  there. 

The  following  spring  the  two  remaining  sons  came.  At  that  time 
there  were  no  traveled  highways,  but  simply  a  trail  across  the  prairie, 
crooked  and  deviating  as  it  wound  around  the  sloughs. 

A  mile  to  the  northeast  of  the  lake  there  was  t,  large  sand  hill  where 
the  wolves  used  to  congregate,  brought  there  by  the  dead  bodies  of  ani- 

—  359  — 


mals  that  had  been  hauled  there  from  the  places  where  they  had  d:ed. 
Their  fighting  and  weird,  mournful  howling  in  the  cold  winter  nights  was 
appalling,  and  to  a  boy  eight  years  old,  lying  awake  shivering  in  the  star- 
light and  gazing  from  a  chamber  window  across  the  snow  towards  this 
nightly  visitation  of  grim  and  grizzled  prowlers,  it  was  a  source  of  lone- 
some homesickness;  and  a  fervid  prayer  for  redemption  from  such  a 
scene  of  desolation,  together  with  a  flow  of  tears  of  pure  wretchedness, 
were  usually  the  last  things  of  consciousness  before  slumber. 

Breaking  prairie  was  of  the  first  importance.  Five  yoke  of  large  oxen 
were  hooked  to  a  plow  sixteen  feet  iong,  turning  three  feet  of  sod  -two 
rounds  a  mile  long  making  an  acre.  The  driver  of  the  oxen  walked  beside 
the  team  in  the  prairie  gra^s,  with  a  long  gad  or  pole  with  a  short  lash,  a 
very  convenient  whip  to  reach  any  laggard  in  the  string.  George  Ros- 
,  brook  held  the  plow  that  turned  the  first  sod  in  Harmon  township. 
Snakes  of  all  kinds  would  crawl  up  on  the  newly  turned  sod  to  lie  in  the 
sun.  At  the  approach  of  the  breaking  team  they  would  scurry  away 
through  the  grass,  and  the  driver  was  often  tripped  up  by  blue  racers,  flve 
feet  long,  coiling  around  his  bare  ankles.  One  day  six  large  rattlesnakes 
were  killed  by  the  driver  of  that  breaking  team.  Corn,  potatoes  and 
melons  grew  in  abundance  on  the  newly  turned  sod,  without  cultivation. 

Robert  Tuttle  came  with  his  family  from  New  Hampshire  in  1853.  He 
settled  in  Knox  County,  about  two  hundred  miles  south.  He  was  a  large, 
strong,  stalwart  man  and  had  followed  the  life  of  a  lumberman  in  the 
pineries.  Leaving  his  family  in  Knox  County  he  started  afoot  toward 
the  pine  woods  of  the  north.  He  came  on  foot  to  Dixon,  111.,  where  he 
was  taken  sick  and  after  a  very  short  illness  died.  Henry  Stores,  a  resi- 
dent of  Lee  County,  drove  with  a  pair  of  horses  to  Knox  County  after 
Mrs.  Tuttle,  and  she  arrived  at  the  bedside  of  her  husband  just  previous 
to  his  death.  Mrs.  Tuttle  was  a  sister  of  Mitchell  Rosbrook,  and  in  1854 
she,  with  her  family  of  flve  children,  settled  in  Harmon  township,  build- 
ing quite  a  good  house  for  that  early  day. 

Afterwards,  by  the  persistent  efforts  of  this  estimable  lady,  a  private 
school  was  kept  in  this  house,  and  the  writer  has  seen  deer  shot  at  from 
the  window  of  that  school  room  as  they  were  feeding  on  the  prairie  a 
short  distance  away.  Some  of  the  grandest  dances  of  the  early  days 
were  held  there.  Oliver  Wagner  often  furnished  the  music,  and  fre- 
quently rapping  his  violin  with  the  bow  to  call  attention,  like  an  auto- 
crat he  would  order  all  to  their  places,  and  after  soundly  berating  them, 
personally  and  collectively,  for  mistakes,  and  again  cautioning  the  boys 
to  "dance  on  their  toes,"  would  command,  "All  forward  again." 

—  360  — 


in  the  sdtiie  year  came  Thomas  Sutton  with  a  large  family  from  thd 
State  of  Ohio,  who  settled  one  mile  to  the  soath  of  the  Lake.  There 
were  nineteen  children  in  this  frmily,  and  Sutton  has  often  been  heard 
lamenting  that  there  were  not  an  even  twenty.  One  child,  Pat,  died  at 
the  age  of  eight  years,  and  the  wails  of  anguish  and  despair  that  went  up 
from  the  stricken  household  were  heartrending.  Shortly  after  the  death 
of  this  boy  a  circus  came  to  A mboy,  and  Sutton  with  the  whole  family 
on  a  hay-rack  started  for  the  town.  When  asked  if  he  was  going  to  the 
show  he  replied,  "Facts,  the  youngsters  might  die  and  never  see  a  sarcus." 
They  stayed  to  both  afternoon  and  evening  performance.  Some  of  the 
older  Sutton  boys  had  been  flirting  with  "corn  juice"  during  the  day,  and 
as  the  evening  show  was  a  repetition  of  that  of  the  afternoon,  they  hilar- 
iously entertained  the  audience  by  proclaiming  before  each  act  what  it 
was  to  consist  of,  and  to  "watch  sharp  now  and  see  this  yer  lady  jump 
through  that  yer  hoop." 

In  later  years  the  male  portion  of  the  Sutton  household  imbibed 
freely,  and  one  night  at  eleven  o'clock  two  of  the  boys  brought  up  at  the 
home  domicile  with  a  lumber  wagon,  to  which  were  hitched  a  pair  of 
recking  horses,  the  boys  having  lashed  them  in  a  fury  most  of  the  way 
from  town.  Sutton  took  them  in  hand  and 
gave  them  a  great  lecture  on  the  evil  of  their 
wavs.  He  told  them  they  ought  to  be  ashamed 
of  themselves,  that  they  were  bringing  their 
father's  gray  hairs — he  was  gray  at  thirty — 
down  with  sorrow  to  the  grave.  He  scolded 
them  off  to  bed,  and  ordered  two  smaller  boys' 
who  had  gotten  up  during  the  din.  to  put  away 
the  horses  and  bring  "that  yer."  "That" 
proved  to  be  a  gallon  jug,  and  two  hours  later, 
when  Sutton  called  the  two  sodden  boys  from 
their  beds  to  fiddle  for  him  while  he  danced — 
and  dance  he  aid  till  sunrise — he  humbly 
begged  their  pardon  for  having  scored  them  so. 
Corn  was  one  of  the  nourishing  products  of  the 
soil,  and  we  are  thankful  that  under  its  exhil- 
arating influence  a  feeling  of  forgiveness,  if  not"'of  ^consistency,  was  re- 
sultant. 

In  1854  Mitchell  Kosbrook  came  from  New  Hampshire  with  a  wife 
and  six  children.  They  were  typical  of  those  Yankees  who  have  bC2n 
successful  in  preserving  the  now  England  accent,  very  little  of  the  flat, 

—  361  — 


Western  enunciation  being  noticeable  in  their  speech,  even  at  the  pres- 
ent time.  This  Mitchell  Rosbrook  was  a  devout  man  and  founded  the 
first  Sunday  School  in  Harmon,  it  being  very  successfully  conducted  in 
John  D.  Rosbrook's  granary. 

DuMitchell  Rosbrook  and  his  wife,  above  mentioned,  George  Stillings 
and  the  Tattles,  were  all  born  and  raised  at  Lancaster,  a  wild  part  of 
New  England  within  the  shadow  of  the  White  Mountains,  so  they  had 
been  hardy  pioneers  before  their  advent  to  this  country.  Mitchell  Ros 
brook  built  the  first  house  ever  built  on  Mt.  Washington.  It  was  built 
for  a  hotel  in  the  "Notch"  of  the  White  Mountains,  and  all  of  the  wood 
material  in  its  construction  was  "packed"  on  the  back  of  mules  up  a  steep 
and  devious  trail  along  the  mountain  side.  They  would  take  a  few  boards 
and  strap  them  on  to  each  side  of  the  mule  with  the  rear  ends  of  the 
boards  just  touching  the  ground,  and  in  this  way  carried  the  lumber  for 
miles  up  the  mountain.  It  was  a  herculean  task  and  required  much  labor 
and  even  suffering  on  the  part  of  Rosbrook  and  his  wife.  Tourists  visited 
the  top  of  the  mountain  every  summer  and  stopped  at  this  mountain 
house  to  get  dinner.  Mary  Tuttle,  now  the  wife  of  George  Rosbrook, 
then  a  girl  of  seventeen  years,  was  cook  at  this  hotel.  In  one  day  she 
cooked  one  hundred  dinners.  Since  that  time  several  magnificent  hotels 
have  been  erected  at  this  point  and  it  has  become  a  gieat  summer  resort, 
but  the  old  Rosbrook  house  still  stands  and  is  pointed  to  as  a  landmark 
of  the  pioneer  days. 

Mitchell  Rosbrook  and  his  family  lived  for  two  years  on  the  farm  of 
Dr.  Gardner  after  they  came  west,  and  then  settled  in  Harmon.  Mrs. 
Rosbrock  assisted  in  making  the  wedding  outfit  for  a  daughter  of  Dr. 
Gardner,  the  present  Mrs.  James  A.  Hawley.  Thirty-one  years  later  Mrs. 
Rosbrook  assisted  in  making  some  of  the  wedding  apparel  for  the  daughter 
of  the  bride  she  had  helped  to  robe  before,  the  present  Mrs.  Powell  of 
Council  Bluffs,  the  daughter  of  James  A.  and  Mrs.  Hawley.  So  Lee 
County  can  point  with  pride  to  Mrs.  Mitchell  Rosbrook  as  one  of  the 
pioneer  women  of  this  country,  both  before  and  after  her  advent  here. 
She  still  lives  and  is  much  respected  bv  all  who  know  her,  and  is  known 
far  and  wide  as  "Aunt  Mary." 

The  fiist  two  elections  of  officers  of  the  township  were  held  at  the 
house  of  Mitchell  Rosbrook.  Jim  McManus  was  elected  supervisor,  Ros- 
brook town  clerk  and  George  Stillings  constable.  The  crowd  gathered 
in  the  morning  and  wrestled  or  pitched  quoits  until  night.  Election  day 
in  Harmon  has  always  been  a  day  of  festivities.  The  second  year  there 
was  opposition  to  Rosbrook  by  Geo.  P.  Weeks  also  running  for  town  cleric. 

—  3G2  — 


Mrs.  Rosbrook  cooked  and  gave  a  free  dinner  that  day  to  all  that  came 
and  was  rewarded  by  her  husband  being  defeated  for  the  office  he  was 
so  anxious  to  obtain.  When  the  votes  were  counted  at  night  Rosbrook 
informed  the  crowd,  with  no  inconsiderable  anger,  that  they  could  after 
that  date  hold  their  election  elsewhere. 

In  the  winter  of  1856-57,  Austin  Balch  with  his  wife  and  two  children 
came  from  New.  Hampshire.  J  ohn  D.  Rosbrook  and  two  sons  were  in 
Dixon  that  day  with  a  team,  and  the  Balch  family  were  taken  out  to 
their  relative,  Israel  Perkinss.  On  the  way  they  became  lost  in  a  snow- 
storm and  brought  up  at  the  house  of  Reuben  Trowbridge  near  Eldena. 
Mr.  Trowdridge  had  but  recently  married,  and  the  kindness  shown  to 
the  careworn,  homesick  and  heartsick  Mrs.  Balch  and  her  colicky  boy  of 
three  years,  by  his  sweet-faced  young  wife,  will  never  fade  from  memory. 

It  was  no  uncommon  thing  to  get  lost  on  the  prairies;  indeed,  it  was 
quite  a  feat  to  avoid  it,  and  required  much  skill  and  no  small  amount  of 
practice  to  ride  or  drive  five  or  ten  miles  in  the  night  across  a  trackless 
prairie  and  not  get  bewildered.  One  wet,  foggy,  Christmas  night  along 
about  in  "60,"  a  party  of  young  people  started  to  go  to  Mrs.  Brill's  to  an 
oyster  supper.  On  the  way  another  party  c  f  young  people  were  overtaken 
who  were  going  to  the  same  place.  At  once  there  was  a  horse  race,  both 
drivers  lashing  their  horses  furiously.  Presently  one  team  ran  out  into  a 
large  slough  and  mired  down.  The  boys  were  obliged  to  wade  out  in  the 
watei  and  broken  ice  to  unhook  the  horses  and  let  them  plunge  out  as 
best  they  could.  Then  they  all  pushed  and  Dulled  at  the  wagon  in  con- 
cert but  could  not  move  it.  Then  the  girls  were  carried  ashore— all  but 
one;  she  was  very  heavy  and  no  one  dared  to  attempt  to  carry  her.  A 
council  was  held  on  the  shore,  while  our  teeth  cracked  together  and  our 
clothing  stiffened  in  the  wintry  air.  Finally  Henry  Bremer,  the  strong- 
est young  man  in  the  party,  averred  that  he  could  carry  her.  He  waded 
in,  seized  her  and  struck  out.  When  about  two  rods  from  the  shore  he 
slipped  on  a  piece  of  floating  ice  and,  realizing  that  he  would  fall,  at- 
tempted to  throw  her  ashore— of  course  she  "lit"'  in  the  water.  The 
wagon  box  was  then  taken  off  and  towed  ashore,  the  wheels  taken  off  and  • 
the  wagon  taken  ashore  in  pieces.  When  a  start  was  made  all  were  be- 
wildered and  lost  and  at  midnight  they  found  themselves  back  where 
they  started  from.  A  fresh  team  was  hitched  to  the  wagon  and  at  two 
o'clock  in  the  morning  they  arrived  at  Brill's.  Mrs.  Brill  had  been  rec- 
ommended as  a  fine  cook  of  oysters.  She  certainly  did  cook  them  well — 
she  began  boiling  them  at  nine  o'clock  in  the  evening  and  cooked  them 
until  we  came. 

—  363  — 


As  the  saying  goes,  "the  latchstring  always  hung  ont."  Houses  were 
not  locked  at  night  nor  in  the  absence  of  the  occupants.  Frequently 
the  settlers  on  coming  home  after  night  have  found  a  roaring  fire  in  the 
stove  and  people  sitting  around  and  enjoying  it, whom  perhaps  the  owner 
of  the  dwelling  had  never  seen.  Explanations  would  be  in  order,  and 
usually  it  was  a  case  of  being  lost  on  the  prairie,  and  in  wandering  about 
they  had  discovered  the  house  and  simply  made  themsel.ves  at  home  until 
they  could  get  their  proper  bearings  for  a  new  start.  Often  we  would 
hear  men  hallooing  out  on  the  prairie  in  the  night,  and  would  say  to  each 
other  that  some,  one  was  lust.  Putting  the  light  in  the  windows  we  would 
go  out  and  call  in  return,  and  usually  would  find  them;  but  sometimes 
their  voices  would  fade  away,  they  not  being  able  to  hear  us  owing  to  the 
direction  of  the  wind.  Some  people  would  get  lost  more  easily  than 
others. 

There  were  many  jokes  about  old  man  Brill  being  so  easily  lost,  and  it 
was  said  that  in  going  home  after  night  he  always  got  lost  and  often 
slept  in  his  own  straw  stack  not  far  from  the  house;  indeed,  Andrew  Cus- 
tiss  said  that  if  Brill  went  out  after  a  pail  of  water  in  the  evening  he 
probably  would  not  find  the  way  back  to  the  house,  but  could  always 
bring  up  at  the  straw  stack. 

There  was  a  raffle  for  turkeys  one  night  at  Brill's,  four  of  the  players 
putting  in  twenty-flve  cents  each,  making  a  dollar  for  each  turkey,  the 
high  man  winning  the  fowl.  After  a  while  those  not  winning  went  home 
by  two's  or  three's,  the  winners  remaining  and  "sawing  off"  with  each 
other.  When  they  were  ready  to  go  home  not  a  turkey  was  to  be  found, 
those  who  had  departed  early  having  passed  near  the  turkey  roost.  The 
following  day  Brill,  who  was  quite  a  hand  to  visit,  called  at  a  house  two 
miles  away  where  there  were  eight  men,  aged  from  twenty-flve  to  thirty, 
"keeping  bach."  They  were  a  jovial  lot  of  fellows,  always  cutting  up  all 
kinds  of  pranks  and  literally  "made  Eome  howl."  When  Brill  arrived 
there  there  were  two  of  his  turkeys  in  the  oven  and  the  men  were  prepar- 
ing for  a  great  feast.  Knowing  Brill's  tendency  to  always  open  an  oven 
door  so  as  to  vvarm  his  feet  in  the  oven,  they  kept  a  man  on  each  side  of 
the  stove  to  fence  him  away.  Brill  sat  and  visited  all  day.  They  tried 
to  entice  him  out  to  the  barn  to  show  him  a  new  horse  they  had  traded 
for,  but  he  would  not  budge.  He  still  sat  there  and  as  the  weather  was 
cold  they  had  to  keep  up  a  roaring  fire.  They  had  no  dinner  and  as  no 
preparations  were  made  for  supper,  at  dark  Brill  went  home.  On  opening 
the  oven  door,  it  is  said,  the  turkeys  were  about  as  large  as  a  couple  of 
jack-snipes;  they  were  thoroughly  cremated. 

—  364  — 


About  this  time  came  Patrick  Grogan  with  a  family  of  small  children. 
Grogan  was  a  jovial,  lazy  kind  of  a  character,  brimming  over  with  fun 
and  good  nature,  and  enjoyed  nothing  more  than  to  play  the  "Arkansaw 
Traveler"  on  an  old  three-stringed  violin,  while  two  of  his  barefoot  chil- 
dren danced  a  breakdown  by  the  hour.  Or  perhaps  he  and  his  sweet- 
faced  wife,  with  a  little  child  tugging  at  her  breast,  sang  old-fashioned 
songs  around  the  glowing  embers  of  a  fireplace  in  their  log  house.  The 
firelight,  flitting  across  their  faces,  both  in  sweet  content,  with  their 
poverty,  made  a  sweet  picture  of  home  life  and  wretched  happiness,  if  I 
may  use  such  a  term,  that  will  never  fade  from  the  memory  of  the  silent 
boy  who  often  sat  and  watched  them,  and  who  as  a  man  has  often 
wished  he  might  exchange  years  of  his  life  for  part  of  Grogan's  placidity. 

Thomas  Sutton  also  lived  in  a  log  house.  In  those  days  there  were 
royal  oaks  in  Palestine  Grove  to  be  had  by  taking,  or  more  plainly,  steal- 
ing them.  Sutton's  father,  old  Uncle  Joo,  lived  with  him  and  was  a 
queer  character,  with  a  comical  Irish  touch  in  his  speech,  a  love  of  home- 
raised  tobacco  in  his  heart,  and  a  "showing"  around  his  mouth.  He  had 
seven  mongrel  dogs,  all  of  different  breeds,  from  a  small  "Fice"  to  a 
large,  vicious  female  bulldog.  These  dogs  were  always  with  him,  and 
followed  him  in  any  neighbor's  house  he  chanced  to  visit.  They  were 
a  terror  to  the  residents  of  the  community,  as  well  as  to  the  cattle  that 
roamed  at  will  on  the  prairie.  The  cattle  would  at  times  ieed  up  near 
to  Cihe  growing  crops,  and  as  there  were  no  fences,  "Uncle  Joe"  being  on 
the  watch  would  call,  "Her,  Fice!  her  Tinker!  yer  Watch!  hi,  Bull! 
you,  Tige!  come,  Ginger!  run  them  out  o'  that!  Pluck  them  well,  Tinker! 
Pull  the  lugs  off  'em,  Watch!  Put  them  to  h-e-1-1!"  the  last  sentence 
ending  in  a  high  keyed  shriek  that  we  have  often  heard  a  mile  away. 
The  cattle  were  in  great  terror  of  these  dogs,  and  soon  came  to  knew 
that  voice  so  well  that  they  would  raise  their  heads  high  in  the  air,  and 
with  their  tails  over  their  backs  run  as  if  for  their  lives.  The  bulldog 
has  frequently  been  seen  to  leap  up  and  Seize  the  tail  of  an  ox  close  to 
the  body,  bite  it  off,  carry  it  back  and  lay  it  at  the  feet  of  "Old  Joe," 
who  never  failed  to  praise  the  act  and  to  gloat  over  the  trophy.  Bull 
guarded  the  old  man  jealously,  and  many  of  the  residents  of  the  neigh- 
borhood were  bitten  by  her.  She  would  never  attack  a  person  watching 
her,  but  would  steal  around  behind  one,  snap  and  spring  away.  She 
was  the  most  treacherous  and  vicious  dog  Lee  county  ever  contained 
She  was  low  and  heavy,  of  a  dirty  brindle  color  mixed  with  a  little  yel- 
low, her  tail  was  cut  off  close  to  her  body,  and  her  legs  were  strong  and 
very  wide  apart.  Her  head  was  carried  low  down  to  the  ground,  her  eyes 

—  365  — 


were  bloodshot  and  never  left  your  face,  while  her  lips  hung  down,  show- 
ing a  cruel  set  of  the  whitest  of  teeth  and  the  blood  red  gums  below.  She 
was  always  dreuling  at  the  mouth,  and  her  sinister  look  always  meant 
mischief.  A  person's  only  safety  was  in  being  pivoted  so  as  to  whirl  and 
keep  her  continually  before  him. 

As  the  years  passed  other  settlers  came  and  "Uncle  Joe"  used  to  visit 
at  a  house  occupied  by  a  man  named  Spangler,  who  had  a  house  full  of 
grown  sons  and  daughters.  Delia,  the  eldest  daughter,  was  housekeeper, 
and  was  often  provoked  by  "Uncle  Joe"  missing  the  ash  box  and  spitting 
on  the  stove  hearth.  After  months  of  patience  she  declared  she  would 
wash  Uncle  Joe's  face  with  a  dish  rag  the  very  next  time  he  spit  on  that 
hearth.  -Everybody  laughed,  nobody  believed  her.  But  one  blustering 
day  when  he  was  in  the  interesting  part  of  a  fight  he  had  once  had  in 
Limerick  he  missed  the  ash  box,  when  without  an  instant's  warning  the 
robust  daughter  of  Spangler  seized  him  around  the  neck  with  the  left 
arm  an<?  for  about  two  minutes  scrubbed  his  mouth  vigorously  with  the 
dish  cloth.  Pie  was  white  with  rage  but  stalked  away,  and  the  last  time 
the  writer  saw  "Uncle  Joe"  was  on  that  darkest  of  days  for  the  nation — 
when  standing  on  the  north  bank  of  the  Lake,  his  voice  raised  so  that  he 
was  heard  distinctly  nearly  half  a  mile  away,  he  devoutly  thanked  God, 
again  and  again,  that  "Owld  Abe  Lincoln"  was  shot.  Such  was  the  dif- 
ference of  opinions  even  here  in  our  Lee  county. 

In  1856-57  settlers  came  thick  and  fast.  Joseph  Julien,  a  brother  of 
Antone  and  John  Julien,  settled  a  mile  to  the  southwest.  At  threshing 
time  Mrs.  Antone  Julien  always  came  from  Dixon  to  assist  in  couking  for 
the  threshers,  and  the  wonderful  meals  this  lady  prepared  were  the  talk 
of  the  neighborhood.  The  threshing  time  at  Joe's  was  always  looked 
forward  to  with  keen  delight  by  about  a  half  dozen  of  us  hungry  young- 
sters who  loved  her  sweet,  gentle  manner  even  more  than  her  cooking, 
and  each  one  was  sure  of  a  recognition  from  this  sweet  faced  woman. 
And  to  this  day  the  writer  never  meets  her  or  walks  by  her  home  without 
a  feeling  of  glad  thankfulness  for  the  sunshine  she  scattered  along  the 
way,  so  lasting  are  influences  in  our  early  life, 

E.  A.  Balch,  C.  H.  Seifken,  Israel  Perkins  and  James  Porter,  with 
their  families,  and  George  Stillings,  Charles  Carby,  "Yankee"  Tuttle  and 
others  were  among  the  early  settlers. 

Two  brilliant  young  men,  accustomed  to  good  cociety  and  luxurious 
homes,  with  some  money,  but  no  knowledge  of  farming,  came  from  the 
city  of  Boston  to  make  their  fortunes  in  the  new  'Eldorado."  They 
quickly  became  the  prey  of  the  neighborhood,  and  many  of  the  spavined, 

—  366  — 


worthless  horses  and  unruly  oxen  were  tethered  around  their  place  on 
Sunday,  arid  usually  sold  to  them  at  large  prices.  John  D.  Rosbrook  often 
lectured  them  for  being  so  easily  separated  from  their  money,  and  cau- 
tioned them  again  and  again  not  to  deal  with  certain  unscrupulous 
neighbors.  Owing  to  their  want  of  knowledge  of  farming  their  crops 
were  a  failure,  and  in  the  fall  they  were  obliged  to  send  home  for  money 
to  return  with.  They  abandoned  the  house  and  land,  which  was  known 
for  years  as  the  "Boston"  house. 

Henry  and  Louis  Isles,  the  sons  of  a  very  wealthy  German  family  of 
New  York  city,  were  taken  from  the  study  of  a  classic  course  at  home 
and  sent  here  to  learn  to  farm,  and  to  harden  their  muscles  with  rugged 
work.  Both  were  graceful  and  courteous  in  behavior,  and  their  fine  con- 
versational powers  left  with  us  a  sweet  remembrance  of  them  in  after 
years.  They  worked  by  the  month  for  John  D.  Rosbrook,  and  manfully 
stood  up  to  what  to  them  must  have  seemed  herculean  tasks,  while  their 
blistered  hands  often  gave  us  the  heartache.  One  summer  finished  their 
apprenticeship. 

One  mile  to  the  east  lived,  for  a  year,  the  Robinson  family.  Mcses 
Dillon,  the  now  flourishing  business  man  of  Sterling,  was  a  stepson  or 
Mr.  Robinson.  "Mose,"  a  little  fellow  in  checked  aprons,  spent  many  of 
his  hours  at  the  Lake  farm;  and  Mary,  the  wife  of  George  Rosbrook, 
often  gave  him  cookies  to  pick  up  chips  for  her.  "Mose"  told  the  writer 
not  long  since,  that  he  had  traveled  wide,  and  eaten  many  toothsome 
dishes,  but  no  morsel  ever  passed  his  lips  that  was  as  good  as  Mary's 
cookies.  He  showed  the  same  ability  in  picking  up  chips  as  in  his  busi- 
ness career.  Even  in  that  early  age  "Mose"  was  a  "hustler." 

Sammy  Robinson,  a  nephew  of  Mr.  Robinson,  taught  our  country 
school.  He  was  very  small,  about  five  feet  high,  and  weighed,  it  would 
seem  to  me,  about  eighty  pounds.  At  the  breaking  out  of  the  war  he 
went  into  the  army  and  was  pushed  through  to  the  front.  One  day  in 
summer  a  party  of  twelve  soldiers  were  sent  out  foraging,  and  donning 
tnything  but  the  army  blue,  they  passed  boldly  into  the  Confederate  lines. 
Coming  to  a  railroad  track  they  followed  it  for  miles,  when  on  turning  a 
sharp  curve  they  found  themselves  in  the  midst  of  about  a  hundred  con- 
federate soldiers  loading  ties  onto  a  railroad  train.  They  at  once  went  to 
work  assisting  in  loading  tics.  The  overseer  of  the  squad  gruffly  asked 
what  they  were  doing  here.  The  leader  answered,  "Detailed  to  help; 
this  work  must  be  pushed."  With  no  conversation,  but  all  senses  on  the 
alert,  the  northern  soldiers  watched  each  other.  During  the  work,  at  a 
signal  from  the  leader,  they  suddenly  took  possession  of  the  train.  Some 

—  367  — 


started  the  engine  and  the  rest  fought  the  confederates  off  so  they  should 
not  board  the  train.  The  train  was  run  northward  a  few  miles  and  then 
it  was  stopped  while  the  hoys  placed  ties  on  the  track  hehind  it  in  such  a 
manner  as  to  ditch  the  following  train.  But'the  train  in  pursuit  was  run 
hy  a  fellow  with  nerves  of  steel,  and,  never  hesitating  at  these  obstruc- 
tions, his  train  kept  the  rails,  knocking  the  ties  like  kindling  wood  from 
tie  track.  In  the  chase  the  captured  engine  was  run  into  anotner  squad 
of  confederate  men.  The  engine  was  abandoned  and  a  break  made  for 
liberty;  but  they  were  captured,  and  Sammy  Robinson  with  the  rest  of 
the  twelve  suffered  for  this  foolhardy  trick  by  being  hung  by  the  neck 
until  they  were  dead.  A  history  of  this  escapade  has  previously  been 
published.  I  have  simply  brought  it  in  here  to  show  that  one  of  this 
party  was  a  former  resident  of  Harmon. 

In  those  days  Dixon  was  our  market  town,  all  farru  products  were 
hauled  there.  Between  our  settlement  and  Dixon  were  several  sloughs, 
one  of  which  was  a  terror  to  us,  and  was  known  as  the  "big  slough."  It 
was  more  than  half  a  mile  wide  with  water  nearly  all  the  way  across,  and 
a  deep  plunge  in  the  middle,  where  we  always  expected  to  get  stuck  in 
the  mud.  Carefully  looking  back  to  that  time,  I  cannot  remember  an 
instance  in  which  we  were  disappointed. 

On  the  Fourth  of  July  two  of  the  Rosbrook  boys  started  for  Dixon  at 
daybreak  with  two  yoke  of  oxen  and  a  small  load  of  hay.  They  had  been 
three  days  in  cutting  the  grass  with  a  scythe  aud  raking  it  up  with  a 
hand  rake.  When  crossing  the  big  slough  the  wagon  settled  to  the  hub, 
and  the  oxen  mired  down.  Most  of  the  hay  had  to  be  pitched  off  before 
the  oxen  could  draw  the  wagon  out.  They  arrived  in  Dixon  at  2:00  o'clock 
in  the  afternoon  and  sold  what  hay  they  had  left  for  seventy-five  cents. 
They  started  for  home  at  4:00  o'clock,  their  conversation  touching  but 
lightly  on  patriotism.  Indeed,  as  it  is  now  remembered,  they  considered 
Washington's  act  in  saving  the  country  rather  i&significant,  and  in 
regard  to  their  locality,  wholly  unneccessary.  We  had  often  heard  Lyman 
Rosbrook,  who  had  lived  in  Lee  Center  many  years  before  this  time,  tell 
of  the  hardships  experienced  by  the  early  settlers  in  hauling  grain  to 
Chicago,  but  we  doubted  if  their  trials  were  any  greater  than  were  expe- 
rienced years  afterwards  in  the  shorter  haul  to  Dixon. 

Prices  of  farm  produce  were  low  in  the  early  days;  eggs,  four  cents  a 
dozen;  butter,  six  cents  a  pound.  Thomas  Sutton  once  hauled  two  loads 
of  an  excellent  quality  of  barley  to  Sterling.  The  buyers  offered  eight 
cents  per  bushel  for  it.  Mr.  Sutton  not  being  satisfied  with  the  offer 
hauled  it  to  Dixon,  where,  after  being  at  the  expense  of  staying  all  night 

—  368  — 


he  sold  the  barley  for  six  cents  a  bushel.  Whiskey  was  ten  cents  a  gallon, 
and  other— so  called— necessities  were  correspondingly  low.  Whether  or 
not  those  were  "Free  Trade"  times,  the  writer  is  not  prepared  to  state — 
but  pardon  me;  this  was  in  the  days  of  Buchanan. 

Game  of  all  kinds  was  very  plentiful  from  1855  to  1875.  Charles  K. 
Shellhammer  has  shot  in  one  day,  one  hundred  geese  (a  farm  wagon  box 
full).  Kipp,  a  hunter  from  Dixon,  shot  sixty-six  Mallard  ducks  at  one 
shot.  A  drove  of  thirteen  deer  were  chased  by  men  on  horse  back  by  our 
place  one  day,  and  five  of  them  killed  after  a  ran  of  several  miles,  but  a 
pair  of  beautiful  sorrel  horses  belonging  to  George  Stillings  were  ruined 
in  the  chase. 

This  George  Stillings  was  a  great  wrestler  and  quite  a  good  jig  dancer. 
He  was  so  fond  of  dancing  that  a  quick  tune  would  at  any  time  or  place 
bring  him  to  his  feet  for  a  break-down.  He  wandered  away,  and  our 
neighborhood  entirely  lost  track  of  him  for  more  than  thirty  years.  One 
evening,  since  the  commencement  of  this  article,  there  walked  into  our 
house  a  short,  strong  man,  elderly,  and  gray  as  a  rat.  It  was  Stillings. 
Two  of  my  sons  now  grown  to  early  manhood  were  playing  a  mandolin 
and  a  guitar.  They  soon  struck  into  "Money  Musk,"  and  then  the  "Devil's 
Dream."  At  the  slightest  hint  from  me  Stillings,  despite  his  sixty  years 
of  rugged  life,  was  on  rm  feet,  and  dancec1  as  lightly  and  airily  as  of  yore 
to  the  great  delight  of  my  family. 

Ferris  Finch,  Wellington  Davis,  Jerome  Hollenbeck  and  Lon  Hernck 
often  came  out  on  the  prairie  hunting,  and  usually  made  their  head- 
quarters at  the  farm  by  the  lake.  We  have  known  them  to  shoot  in  one 
day  two  hundred  and  fifty  prairie  chickens,  many  of  them  being  shot  from 
the  carriage  as  they  were  driving  over  the  prairie.  One  day  after  dinner 
Wellington  Davis,  who  had  drunk  most  of  the  milk  punch  that  he  had 
brewed  for  the  crowd,  was  still  sitting  in  the  house  by  the  punch  bowl; 
Ferris  Finch  drew  the  charges  of  shot  from  Davis'  gun  when  the  latter 
was  not  looking,  and  then  offered  to  bet  him  a  dollar  that  he  could  not 
shoot  two  swallows  in  succession  as  they  were  flying  around  overhead. 
Davis,  who  was  game  and  a  crack  shot,  immediately  accepted  the  chal- 
lenge. The  sight  he  presented  in  whirling  round  the  yard  (one  leg  being 
about  six  inches  shorter  than  the  other),  endeavoring  to  get  aim,  was 
very  ludicrous.  He,  of  course,  missed  both  shots  and  immediately  handed 
over  the  dollar,  but  he  then  wanted  to  wager  ten  that  he  could  shoot  the 
next  two.  The  explosions  of  laughter  that  followed  convinced  him  that 
his  gun  had  been  tampered  with  and  he  offered  to  whip  Ferris  Finch,  to 
the  great  amusement  of  Herrick  and  Hollenbeck,  who  were  lying  on  the 
grass  shouting  with  laughter. 

—  369  — 


In  1867  an  insane  woman  wandered  from  near  where  Walton  is  out 
into  the  swamps  and  was  lost.,  During  the  winter  several  hunting  par" 
ties  ware  organized  to  hunt  for  her.  In  those  days  everybody  possessed 
or  borrowed  a  good  saddle  horse.  There  were  many  expert  riders  and  fleet 
horses  in  the  vicinity.  Short'y  after  the  start,  one  day  in  February,  a 
wolf  was  sighted,  and  everybody  cut  loose  for  a  run.  Within  a  mile  all. 
gave  up  but  two  horsemen.  In  three  rnilos  the  wolf  disappeared  in  the 
tall  grass  and  some  deer  tracks  were  discovered.  These  were  followed 
several  miles,  when  by  certain  signs  we  knew  we  were  close  to  the  quarry, 
and  rightly  conjectured  that  the  deer  were  in  some  heavy  swamp  grass 
half  a  mile  to  the  westward. 

The  saddle  girths  were  tightened,  conversation  was  held  in  whispers, 
while  the  horses  rubbed  their  noses  together,  pricked  up  their  ears  and 
gazed  excitedly  toward  the  tall  marsh  grass,  and  pranced  around  over  the 
snow.  The  mare  nipped  at  the  ear  of  the  stalwart  gelding,  who  stood 
out  in  bold  relief  against  the  fast  approaching  sunset.  He  seemed  as  if 
carved  in  stone,  but  the  play  of  his  muscles  beneath  the  surface  gave 
token  that  he  understood  the  nature  of  our  preparations  and  was  anxious 
for  the  fray. 

Then  we  mounted,  and  with  tightly  grasped,  rein,  they  were  sent  like 
a  ball  from  the  cannon's  mouth  straight  to  the  westward,  and  the  two 
best  running  horses  in  that  part  of  Lee  county  were  exerting  every  nerve 
and  sinew  to  push  their  noses  past  each  other,  when  about  forty  rods 
ahead  of  us,  out  of  the  long  swamp  grass,  sprang  nine  deer.  To  those 
who  have  never  «een  wild  rleer  run  the  sight  is  indescribable.  They 
leaped  up  from  the  ground  twenty  feet  and  appeared,  from  a  short  dist- 
ance, to  come  down  where  they  went  up;  but  really  they  covered  a  dist- 
ance of  from  thirty  to  thirty-eight  feet  at  each  bound.  They  went  up 
with  head,  legs  and  flanks  stretched  to  the  utmost;  not  a  muscle  moved 
while  in  the  air,  and  it  gave  them  the  appearance  of  a  flying  squirrel  or  a 
great  monstrous  bat.  They  were  dark  brown  as  they  went  up  showing 
the  back  and  head  and  stiffened  legs;  they  were  white  as  they  came 
down,  showing  the  under  side  of  the  b.ody  only.  They  leaped  in  different 
directions,  and  as  some  went  up  while  others  were  coming  down  from 
those  terrific  bounds,  the  sight  was  thrilling  and  awe  inspiring.  And 
afterwards,  when  riding  at  bare-neck  speed,  right  in  among  them  and 
close  up 'to  a  monstrous  buck  that  was  perfectly  frantic  with  fear  and 
desperation,  it  become  not  only  exciting  but  very  dangerous. 

It  was  an  experience  that  but  few  people  will  ever  have;  a  sight  that 
only  the  great  minority  will  ever  view;  and  the  remembrance  of  that 

—  370  — 


thrilling  chase  wjll  never  fade  from  the  minds  of  the  two  riders  who  rode 
at  such  a  terrific  clip  across  the  bogs  and  snow,  in  the  Winnebago  swamps 
near  Palestine.  George  Berlin  succeeding  in  killing  a  fine  buck  after  a 
hard  chase  for  miles,— the  only  doer  captured  that  day.  Berlin  was  rid- 
ing a  race  horse  valued  at  three  hundred  dollars,  belonging  to  Charles 
She'ilhammer.  After  that  day  he  was  worth  about  fifty  dollars;  but  Ber- 
lin was  more  famous  than  General  Grant.- 

The  woman  was  found  the  next  spring,  by  the  cattle  in  the  large  herds 
bellowing  and  pawing  around  the  place  where  she  lay. 

The  herding  of  cattle  in  those  latter  days  was  a  great  industry;  some 
herds  contained  as  many  as  three  thousand  head  of  cattle.  The  charge 
was  about  a  dollar  and  a  half  per  head  during  the  season.  The  expense 
was  simply  the  hire  of  two  men  to  guard  them. 

Sandhill  cranes  were  more  plentiful  than  bees  among  the  clover  blos- 
soms, and  it  was  not  an  uncommon  sight  to  see  a  thousand  acres  covered 
with  them.  Their  playful  antics  were  interesting  and  amusing:  they 
would  gather  in  squads  of  four  or  five,  form  a  square,  or  nearly  so,  about 
six  feet  from  each  other.  The  old,  or  gander  crane  would  utter  their 
peculiar  plaintiff  call,  when  all  wouid  leap  from  th'e  earth  about  six  feet, 
bounding  over  and  under  each  other,  and  all  calling  their  loudest,  while 
each  tried  to  get  the  place  occupied  by  some  other.  A  veritable  "Pussy 
wants  a  corner,"  as  we  see  the  children  play  it  now.  A  sandhill  crane 
stands  nearly  as  high  as  a  man;  its  color  is  a  bluish  gray.  When  gather- 
ing in  large  bands  in  the  fall,  preparatory  to  migrating,  their  appearance 
was  like  that  of  a  large  drove  of  sheep.  They  came  in  the  autumn  and 
usually  remained  two  or  three  weeks.  One  day  early  in  the  fall,  when 
only  a  few  cranes  had  been  noted  flying  away  up  in  the  air— a  crane  will 
soar  to  a  height  to  which  an  eagle  never  goes,  and  will  stay  up  an  hour 
without  a  movement  of  the  wings  — the  younger  Rosbrook  boy,  then 
quite  small,  heard  a  crane  calling  and  knew  by  the  sound  that  it  was  in 
a  melon  patch  in  the  middle  of  a  cornfield.  Softly  stealing  through  the 
corn,  he  spied  near  the  opening  the  head  oi  a  crane  and  knew  by  its 
attitude  that  it  was  alarmed  and  about  to  fly  away.  With  careful  aim  at 
its  head,  the  only  part  visible,  he  pulled  the  trigger  and  took  a  couple  of 
somersaults,  as  he  always  did  when  he  shot  that  gun.  Gathering  himself 
up  he  was  mystified  to  see  the  crane  fly  away.  He  could  not  understand 
it,  as  he  knew  the  aim  was  good,  and  former  experience  had  taught  him 
that  every  thing  went  down  before  that  gun  when  the  aim  was  right, 
lie  went  over  to  the  melon  patch  before  starting  home,  and  there  in  their 
death  struggle,  wore  three  cranes!  one  of  them  shot  through  the  head; 
there  had  been  four  of  tLem  in  the  flock,  and  three  of  them  in  line. 

—  371  — 


Wolves  were  fleet  of  foot  and  could  run  away  from  the  fastest  horse 
or  dog.  But  George  Rosbrook,  when  riding  "Little  Billy,"  a  famed  sad- 
dle horse,  after  cattle  one  day,  saw  and  gave  chase  to  a  wolf,  which  after 
a  hard  run,  he  succeeded  in  killing,  with  no  other  weapon  than  an  iron 
stirrup,  swung  by  the  stirrup  strap. 

At  one  time  on  the  Rosbrook  farm  at  the  Lake  there  was  a  tame 
'  crane,  a  coon  and  a  wolf.  The  crane  had  been  found  when  small  on  the 
prairie.  The  coon  and  the  wolf  were  captured  when  small,  and  were 
from  litters  that  were  dug  out  from  holes  in  the  ground. 

All  of  these  pets  showed  their  ingratitude.  The  crane  flew  away,  and 
the  wolf  began  catching  tame  chickens  and  was  chained  in  the  yard.  One 
day  Mary,  the  wife  of  George  Rosbrook,  took  some  scraps  that  were  left 
from  the  table  out  to  the  wolf.  After  eating  part  of  the  food  he  went 
inside  his  kennel  and  lay  with  his  head  between  his  paws,  watching  the 
chickens  as  they  came  near  to  pick  up  the  crumbs.  Suddenly  he  sprang 
out  and  caught  three  of  them  at  once.  Mary  who  was  watching  from  the 
door,  ran  out  to  save  the  chicks.  Grasping  the  wolf  by  the  neck,  she 
choked  him  until  his  jaws  relaxed  and  tbe  chickens  dropped  out;  but 
they  were  quite  dead.  As  she  released  the  wolf,  she  wa^  rewarded  by  his 
biting  her  quite  through  the  hand.  The  coon  had  been  busy  for  the  past 
month  tearing  down  corn  at  night  and  eating  the  young  roasting  ears. 
During  the  day  he  was  the  meekest  and  best  behaved  coon  in  the  world, 
but  at  night  he  would  make  as  much  noise  tearing  down  corn  as  a  small 
drove  of  cattle.  And  so  the  wolf  and  coon  both  went  one  day  to  help 
swell  "Forepaugh's  Great  Consolidated  Show." 

In  1856.  five  thousand  head  of  immense  Texan  steers  were  driven  past 
our  house  on  their  way  to  Chicago:  the  summer  had  been  consumed  on  the 
drive.  Many  of  them  would  measure  seven  feet  from  tip  to  tip  of  horns. 
Near  the  lake  the  owner  turned  them  into  a  fine  field  of  corn  of  one  hun- 
dred and  sixty  acres,  and  then  calmly  rode  off  to  find  the  owner  and 
bought  the  entire  crop  at  the  settler's  figure.  It  1857  two  thousand  very 
large,  fat  hogs  were  driven  past  our  place  toward  the  southwest.  The 
owner  claimed  to  have  bought  them  in  Milwaukee  and  was  driving  them 
to  Missouri,  which  we  thought  a  strange  proceeding. 

I  would  like,  if  it-  were  not  encroaching,  to  mention  some  of  the  early 
days  of  Dixon,  the  days  of  "Rough  and  Ready."  Hiram  Ruff,  nick-named 
"Rough  and  Ready,"  was  a  queer  character.  He  was  small,  wiry  and 
quick,  and  a  genuine  sport. 

In  those  days  Myron  Bryson  frequently  drove  the  omnibus  for  the  car- 
rying of  passengers  from  the  Nachusa  house  to  the  depot.  "Rough  and 

—  372  — 


Heady"  toad  a  fruit  stand  where  BoltZenthal's  cigar  store  now  is.  Bryson 
would  say  something  to  him  which  always  seemed  to  anger  him  and  old 
"Rough"  would  throw  apples  at  the  driver  from  the  time  the  omnibus 
came  in  sight  until  it  turned  the  corner,  jumping  up  and  down  on  the 
sidewalk  and  yelling  with  rage  in  the  meantime.  Indeed,  the  rattle  of 
'bus  coming  down  the  street  was  a  signal  for  all  of  the  snap  11  boys  to  spread 
out  in  fan-shape  from  where  Edward's  coal  office  now  is  around  to  Man- 
gus'  feed  shed  and  "take  in"  the  apnles  on  the  fly,  as  they  came  sailing 
through  the  air.  Apples  were  very  scarce  in  those  days,  and  "Old 
Rough"  usually  threw  away  about  a  peck  every  time  the  'bus  went  by. 

Intending  to  confine  my  remarks  to  Harmon  I  ask  pardon  for  this 
digression. 

I  am  warned  by  the  accumulated  manuscript  before  me  that  no  in- 
considerable space  will  be  occupied  in  its  publication.  If  the  twenty  odd 
towns  in  Lee  county  contribute  as  voluminously  your  book  will  ceitainly 
have  the  advantage  of  immensity.  Before  laying  my  pen  aside  I  wish  to 
offer  an  apology.  Doubtless  many  persons  are  left  out  who  are  deserving 
of  mention.  In  other  places  error?  as  to  dates  may  have  crept  in.  There 
are  paragraphs  that  may  reflect  slightly  on  some  persons  particularly 
mentioned.  To  those  I  humbly  apologize,  and  add  that  in  my  heart  I 

have  only  the  feeling  of  "good  will  to  all." 

C.  J.  ROSBROOK. 


ONE  OF  THE  PIONEER    FARMERS. 


hee 
/-~««fc^ 


MRS.  ADOLPHOS    BLISS. 


Lee  Center. 


u  IT  will  be  be  obvious  to  anyone  at  a  glance  that  God  has  not  made  any 
such  thing  as  a  complete  remembrance  of  past  ages  possible.    He 
writes  oblivion  against  all  but  a  few  names  and  things,  and  empties 
the  world  to  give  freer  space  for  what  is  to  come." 

In  writing  a  sketch  of  this  particular  part  of  God's  heritage  we  have 
drawn  largely  upon  the  memories  of  the  oldest  settlers,  their  sons  and 
daughters,  for  stories  which  contain  all  the  fascination  of  personal  exper- 
ience and  personal  encounter. 

We  have  striven  for  accuracy  in  dates  and  locality,  without  which  his- 
tory is  but  driftwood  in  the  tide  of  events.  In  our  search  for  ancient 
landmarks  we  hope  not  to  be  so  entirely  surpassed  as  was  a  certain  Eng- 
lish gentleman  who  was  boasting  to  a  Yankee  that  .they  had  a  book  in 
the  British  museum  which  was  owned  by  Cicero.  "Oh,  that's  nothing,'' 
retorted  the  Yankee,  "in  the  museum  in  Bosting,  they've  got  the  lead 
pencil  that  Noah  used  to  check  off  the  animals  that  went  into  the  ark.', 

When  our  grandparents  raked  the  ashes  over  the  glowing  coals  upon 
their  hearthstones,  and  retired  to  dream  of  the  sons  who  had  gone  to  the 
new  country  to  make  for  themselves  a  home,  they  could  not  then  realize 
what  a  garland,  of  honor  already  encircled  their  heads,  or  what  a  sceptre 
of  power  awaited  their  hands,  for  we  hold  that  he  who  makes  the  oppor- 
tunity of  discovery  possible  to  another,  himself  refraining  from  the  grat- 
ification thereof,  justly  deserves  the  conqueror's  meed.  All  honor  then 
to  those  who  "remained  by  the  stuff"  and  kept  the  hearthstone  warm 
and  bright  for  those  on  the  frontier. 

It  is  with  pleasure  that  we  present  the  name  and  face  of  Mrs.  Adol- 
phus  Bliss  to  the  readers  of  this  sketch.  She  was  ninety-three  years  of 
age  on  Valentine's  day,  the  14th  of  February,  1893.  She.  with  her  hus- 
band, settled  in  what  is  Lee  Center  township  today,  in  May,  1834— the 
first  white  woman  in  the  present  township  and  the  second  white  woman 
in  the  county.  Here  she  lived  one  year  before  she  had  a  neighbor  nearer 
than  Dixon.  Our  informant,  her  son,  Mr.  Volney  Bliss,  says  "We  have 

—  379  — 


lived  in  three  counties  without  moving,"  referring  to  the  three  names, 
Jo  Davies,  Ogle  and  Lee,  which  have  been  given  this  county. 

Near  Mr.  Bliss'  home  two  hundred  red  men  were  in  camp,  awaiting 
payment  and  the  repairing  of  their  guns  before  their  westward  march. 
John  Fosdick  was  a  blacksmith  and  gunsmith  and  was  'employed  by  the 
government  to  repair  their  guns.  These  Indians  were  peaceably  inclined, 
but  nevertheless  they  must  have  struck  terror  to  the  hearts  of  many  a 
woman  by  appearing  in  the  most  unexpected  manner.  One  of  the  early 
settlers,  Mrs.  Ira  Brewer,  was  sitting  alone  in  her  log  cabin  one  day  when 
suddenly  the  window  was  darkened  and  looking  up  she  saw  Indian  faces 
crowded  so  thickly  together  that  the  light  was  entirely  obscured. 
Another  one,  Mrs.  Lewis  Clapp,  was  frying  doughnuts  in  her  kitchen 
when  a  numter  of  Indians  with  their  chief  walked  in  and  ranged  them- 
selves around  the  wall.  The  woman  did  not  scream,  she  greeted  them 
with  a  calm  exterior,  finished  frying  her  cakes— I  imagine  it  did  not  take 
long — and  then  proceeded  to  pass  them.  But  the  chief  relieved  her  of 
this  hospitality  by  deliberately  emptying  the  entire  panfull  into  his 
blanket. 

These  first  settlers  realized  another's  need  as  their  own,  and  protected 
or  respected  the  rights  of  each  other  at  the  peril  of  life  sometimes.  Of 
course  there  were  exceptions  to  the  rule,  where  individuals  allowed  the 
desire  for  possession  to  rule  them,  else,  the  need  of  an  association  for  the 
adjustment  of  claims,  called  "The  Grove  Association,"  would  have  been 
unnecessary.  Mr.  Ira  Brewer  kindly  furnished  me  with  the  original  doc- 
uments of  this  association.  We  handled  the  worn  and  yellowed  papers 
with  exceeding  care,  for  they  embodied  the  very  nucleus  round  which  our 
laws  enwrap  themselves. 

Dated,  Inlet,  Ogle  Co.,  111.,  July  10,  1837.  We  read  the  following  pre- 
amble. 

"The  encouragement  which  Congress  gave  to  the  pioneers  of  this 
country  stimulated  the  present  inhabitants  to  sacrifice  property  and  case 
and  commence  a  long  and  fatiguing  journey  in  order  to  better  themselves 
and  their  offspring;  not  only  the  fatierue  of  a  long  and  expensive  journey, 
but  the  privations  to  which  they  were  exposed  in  consequence  of  the 
scarcity  of  the  comforts  of  life  and  the'exposure  to  the  inclemency  of  the 
weather  in  an  open  log  cabin.  Everything  considered,  we  think  it  no 
more  than  right,  just  and  honorable  that  each  man  should  hold  a  reason- 
able claim,  and  at  the  land  sales  obtain  his  lands  at  Congress'  price. 

Therefore,  We,  the  subscribers,  feel  willing  to  come  under  any  rules 
and  regulations  that  are  warranted  by  honor  and  principle  in  regard  to 
our  honest  claims. 

—  380— 


"Therefore,  We  establish  a  few  rules  and  regulations  whereby  we  may 
be  governed  on  principles  of  equity." 

This  preamble  is  followed  by  seven  Articles  whereby  the  society  should 
be  governed,  and  a  long  list  of  names,  some  of  them  almost  illegible. 

A  few  years  later  an  "Association  for  the  Furtherance  of  the  Cause 
of  Justice,"  was  organized.  We  note  a  "cast  iron  constitution,"  includ- 
ing instructions  to  a  "Committee  of  Vigilance."  which  makes  it  evident 
these  were  perilous  times  in  the  history  of  the  county.  In  the  spring  of 
1836,  the  first  sermon  was  preached  by  Peter  Cartwright,  "the  backwoods 
preacher,"  at  Mr.  Dewey's  house.  A  Methodist  preacher  :n  those  days 
when  he  felt  that  God  had  called  him  to  preach,  instead  of  hunting  up  a 
college,  or  Biblical  Institute,  hunted  up  a  hardy  pony  and  some  traveling 
apparatus,  and  with  his  library  always  at  hand,  namely:  the  Bible,  Hymn 
Book  and  Discipline,  he  started,  and  with  a  text  that  never  wore  out  nor 
grew  stale  he  cried  "Behold  the  Lamb  of  God,  that  taketh  away  the  sins 
of  the  world."  In  this  way  he  went  through  storms  of  wind,  hail,  snow 
and  rain;  plunged  through  swamps,  swam  swollen  streams,  lay  out  all 
night,  wet,  weary  and  hungry,  held  his  horse  by  the  bridle  all  night  or 
tied  him  to  a  limb,  slept  with  his  saddle  blanket  for  a  bed,  his  saddle  for 
a  pillow,  and  his  old  big  coat  or  blanket,  if  he  had  any,  for  a  covering. 
Often  he  slept  in  dirty  cabins,  on  earthen  floors  before  the  flre;  drank 
butter-milk  for  coffee,  or  sage  tea  for  Imperial,  partook  with  hearty  zest 
of  deer  or  bear  meat,  or  wild  turkey,  for  breakfast,  dinner  and  supper,  if 
he  could  get  it.  This  was  old  fashioned  Methodist  preacher  fare  and 
fortune,  so  says  Peter  Cartwright  himself. 

During  the  summer  of  '36  there  was  occasional  preaching  in  Inlet,  and 
the  first  Methodist  class  was  organized  with  John  Fosdick  leader.  In 
the  spring  of  1837  Mr.  David  Tripp  and  family,  also  his  brother-ia-law, 
Orange  Webster,  settled  in  Inlet.  Mr.  Tripp  was  the  first  Baptist  in  the 

town,  and  soon  the  first  Baptist  minister  with  the  name  of  Hetler 

followed.  Then  one Turtillock  and  these  two  came  occasionally 

and  preached  in  Mr.  Tnpp's  house,  until  Mr.  Tripp  built  a  new  barn. 
This  was  dedicated  with  a  protracted  meeting  in  which  a  large  number 
were  converted.  The  Baptist  church  was  organized  with  Mr.  Webster 
as  deacon  and  Mr.  Tripp  clerk.  They  held  meetings  regularly  at  Mr. 
Tripp's  place  until  a  school  house  was  built  near  the  Dewey  mill.  The 
"circuit  rider"  for  this  district  would  come  from  the  east  and  go  west, 
taking  about  two  weeks  to  complete  his  circuit.  He  was  a  young  married 
man  by  the  name  of  Smith.  His  stopping  place  in  Inlet  was  at  Mr. 
Dewey's.  Here  he  was  taken  ill,  and  lived  but  a  few  dajs— there  was 

—  381  — 


no  physician  in  Lee  county  then.  On  the  night  of  his  death  two  families 
arrived  from  New  York  and  took  up  their  abode  in  the  Tripp  house. 
Mr.  Birdsall,  who  came  in  the  fall  of  '37,  occupied  a  room  in  the  Tripp 
house— and  his  sons-in-law,  Rev.  Luke  Hitchcock  and  Oscar  F.  Ayres, 
found  shelter  under  the  same  hospitable  roof;  so  the  Eev.  Luke  Hitch- 
cock preached  the  first  funeral  sermon  in  the  town  of  Lee  Center  over 
the  remains  of  this  young  circuit  rider.  He  was  buried  near  Mr.  Darius 
Sawyer's  preseru  home  where  a  stone  still  marks  his  grave. 

One  can  imagine  how  gladly  a  regularly  licensed  physician  would  be 
welcomed  in  a  community  where  sickness  and  death  had  made  inroads, 
and  when  Dr.  R.  F.  Adams  arrived  in  1837  to  stay  the  people  breathed 
more  freely.  Then  came  a  physician  b.y  the  name  of  Hubbard— but  only 
for  a  year,  and  Dr.  Welch,  now  of  Galesburg,  followed  Dr.  Charles 
Gardner  came  at  an  early  date  and  was  held  in  high  esteem  throughout 
the  county.  The  story  is  told  that  on  the  night  of  the  arrival  of  Dr. 
Gardner  and  the  Rev.  D'Wolf  at  the  Tripp  house,  there  was  quite  a 
stir  in  the  family,  for  professional  gentlemen  were  much  needed  on  these 
prairies.  Tne  guess  was  passed  from  one  to  another  as  to  which  was  the 
"Rev."  and  which  the  "Dr."  The  unanimous  decision  was  in  favor  of 
Dr.  Gardner  as  the  Reverend.  When  the  truth  was  known  a  general 
laugh  ensued  in  which  the  newly  arrived  joined  as  heartily  as  any. 
The  first  building  occupied  for  a  store  stood  on  the  ground  where  David 
Tripp's  Grout-house  stood,  then  the  building  was  sold  to  Mr.  George 
Haskell,  who  moved  it  nearer  to  Inlet  creek,  where  it  stood  several  years, 
when  it  was  moved  to  the  town  of  Lee  Center  and  occupied  for  some 
years  by  Joseph  Gary.  The  pioneer  teacher  was  Miss  Ann  Chamber! in 
who  in  the  summer  of  '36  occupied  a  room  in  Mr.  Adolphus  Bliss'  house 
for  that  purpose.  After  this  a  log  school  house  was  built  near  Mr.  Bliss 
house  in  which  Mr.  Olis  Timothy  taught.  This  gentleman  is  now  living 
at  Franklin  Grove  and  from  the  pen  of  his  wife  we  learn  that  Mr  T. 
taught  nearly  three  months  in  the  winter  of  '37-38.  That  he  boarded 
round,  receiving  $15  per  month,  having  20  or  25  pupils  in  attendance. 

In  gathering  items  in  regard  to  the  early  school  teachers,  we  find 
that  the  first  were  invariably  women. 

All  honor  to  her  who  led  the  van  in  educational  interests;  with  what 
cost  of  trial  and  patience  and  soul  weariness,  none  can  estimate. 

Among  the  name  of  old  settlers  we  find  the  name  of  Mr.  Roswell 
Streeter,  and  from  the  pen  of  his  son,  A.  G.  Streeter,  we  have  the  follow- 
ing: "My  father  made  a  claim  on  the  land  on  which  Lee  Center  is  situ- 
ated in  the  year  1833.  In  the  following  year  we  moved  from  Allegheny 

—  382  — 


county,  New  York,  to  near  the  claim  and  built  a  log  house  in  the  edge  of 
Inlet  Grove,  where  we  found  some  protection  from  the  winter  storms.  I 
was  then  13  years  old  and  the  eldest  of  seven  boys.  Father  improved  the 
claim  of  160  acres,  and  in  after  years  when  the  government  survey 
had  been  made,  and  the  land  offered  for  sale  at  the  land  office  in  Dixon, 
he  entered  the  same.  Later  on  father  sold  that  part  on  which  Lee 
Center  now  stands,  and  gate  a  portion  more,  (the  amount  I  do  not  re- 
member) for  the  erection  and  maintenance  of  an  academy.  One  or  two 
years  before  these  transactions  I  had  left  Lee  Center  for  Galesburg,  where 
I  had  been  told  there  was  a  Normal  labor  school  or  college  where  a  young 
man  could  wont  his  way  through  without  money.  I  found  that  the  labor 
department  was  not  in  working  order,  in  fact  it  never  was.  On  arriving 
in  Galesburg  I  had  thirteen  dollars,  and  this  with  willing  hands  backed 
by  strength,  energy  and  a  determined  will  to  succeed,  was  all  I  had.  It 
was  enough,  for  I  was  ready  to  do  whatever  I  could  find  to  do.  So  I  set 
up  the  business  of  making  shingles  with  a  froe  and  drawing  knife.  The 
boltSj  shingle  length,  were  sawn  off  the  tree;  with  froe  and  maul,  split  to 
the  proper  thickness,  then  with  shaving  knife  cut 'down  to  the  proper 
taper.  Many  and  rnanv  a  day  I  fixed  my  school  books  up  before  me  to 
get  my  lessons  while  at  work. 

I  well  remember  the  first  school  house  and  the  time  it  was  built  in  the 
old  Inlet  Grove.  It  was  in  the  edge  of  the  timber,  and  pretty  well 
hidden  from  view  by  a  hazel  thicket  on  Mr.  Bliss'  land.  Geo.  E.  Haskell 
teacher.  T'was  made  of  logs,  cracks  chinked  and  filled  with  mud,  floor 
of  split  logs,  fire  place  on  one  side,  chimney  out  side  made  of  rough  stone, 
and  split  logs  for  seats.  We  lived  a  mile  away,  through  the  grove  part 
way.  We  had  to  cross  a  small  creek  on  the  way  with  no  bridge.  When- 
ever the  creek  was  over  the  banks,  1  would  pull  off  shoes  and  wade 
through,  then  on  to  school,  holding  my  book  before  me  to  make  up  for 
lost  time.  For  Mr.  Haskeli  had  promised  the  one  who  "left  off  head"  the 
most  times  during  the  term,  fifty  cents.  I  attended  school  two  winter 
quarters  before  leaving  for  Galesburg.  In  1849  I  drove  an  ox  team  in 
company  with  others  to  California,  remained  there  in  the  mines  eighteen 
months.  After  that  took  two  droves  of  cattle  to  California  to  market. 
In  1855  I  returned  and  bought  land  near  where  I  now  live  and  settled 
down  to  farming  and  stock  raising." 

Mr.  Streeter  has  been  successful  in  business,  at  the  same  time  has 
kept  posted  in  the  affairs  of  the  general  government  and  of  the  state, 
lie  has  seryed  in  four  sessions  of  the  state  legislature,  both  house  and 
senate.  Has  been  candidate  for  congress,  governor  and  president  on  a 
minority  ticket. 

—  383  — 


"A  typical  old  sett'er,''  who  proves  to  be  Mr.  Charles  Ingals,  came  to 
Lee  Center  in  1836.  He  was  a  Yankee,  born  among  the  New  England 
hills,  upon  a  farm  settled  and  tilled  by  four  generations  of  ancestors. 
After  the  death  of  their  parents,  half  a  dozen  brothers  and  sisters  of  the 
family  went  west,  although  the  traditional  advice  to  do  so  had  not  then 
been  published.  The  subject  of  our  sketch  lived  more  than  fifty  years, 
on  the  territory  which  he  selected  for  a  home^*called  at  that  time  Pales- 
tine Grove,  Ogle  county,  but  now  Lee  Center,  Lee  county.  Mr.  Ingals 
who  modestly  speaks  of  himself  in  the  third  person,  says:  "The  young 
man  located,  and  without  experience,  council  or  cash,  borrowed  an  ax, 
and  the  long  fought  battle  of  the  prairies  began.  A  cabin  home  was 
erected  in  two  weeks,  without  the  sound  of  a  hammer  or  sight  of  a  nail, 
that  did  good  service  for  ten  years.  That  cabin  was  made  especially 
pleasant  for  two  years  through  the  efficiency  and  kindness  of  a  well- 
beloved  sister.  A  marriage  alliance  was  then  negotiated  and  solemnized 
without  any  undue  nonsense  and  the  bride  and  groom  began  a  novel 
wedding  journey  of  which  an  account  is  given  by  Mrs.  Ingals  a  few  pages 
farther  on. 

In  those  early  times  transportation  and  team  work  was  done  mostly 
by  oxen. 

As  winter  approached  (the  first  winter  north)  these  cattle  became 
home-sick  and  strayed,  often  going  south,  to  their  formor  homes  among 
the  stock  fields  and  corn  cribs  of  Egypt — they  having  been  brought  from 
Southern  Illinois.  One  morning  our  "typical  old  settler"  found  the  last 
hoof  of  stock  he  owned  was  gone!  No  cow  was  left  to  furnish  milk,  no 
ox  to  haul  fuel.  The  owner  pursued  on  foot  and  was  gone  six  weeks  be- 
fore reaching  home  again  with  those  indispensable  animals.  The  ground 
was  thickly  covered  with  snow,  prairies  bleak,  and  the  weather  intensely 
cold.  Today  it  seems  strange  that  a  man  would  foot  it  500  miles  under 
such  circumstances  for  a  few  head  of  cattle.  The  reason  was  simple  and 
plain — he  had  to  have 'em.  His  family,  knowing  nothing  of  his  where- 
abouts welcomed  him  as  one  from  the  dead. 

Mr.  Ingals  in  speaking  of  his  chase  after  ^his  cattle,  reminds  us  of  a 
story  told  by  one  of  the  old  settlers  concerning  another. 

"I  was  eating  breakfrst  when  I  heard  a  man  calling  from  the  street. 
It  proved  to  be  Squire  Bobinson,  from  Melugin's  Grove  and  he  waa  in- 
quiring if  we  had  seen  any  cattle.  He  had  missed  them  when  he  tlrsfc 
went  out  in  the  morning,  and  started  without  his  hat  in  pursuit,  and  he 
continued  to  pursue  until  he  reached  Dixon,  still  withoufa  hat.  I  hope 
someone  appreciated  his  energetic  pursuit  of  knowledge— no  cattle,  and 
presented  him  with  a  good,  substantial  hat. 

—  384  — 


DR.  EPHRAIM  INGALLS. 


MRS.  EPHRAIM  INGALLS 


Next  in  order  comes  a  letter  from  Mrs.  C.  F.  Ingalls  giving  an  account 
of  their  wedding  tour,  of  which  she  says,  "It  was  so  pleasant  that  even 
then  I  could  have  turned  about  and  repeated  it  with  pleasure."  We  give 
her  story  in  her  own  words,  and  she  begins: 

"September  <>,  1838, 1  was  married  and  left  my  native  town  in  Vermont 
for  a  new  home  in  Illinois. 

"We  had  a  one-horse  wagon— buggies  not  having  come  much  into  use 
there— in  which  were  two  trunks  and  some  smaller  baggage:  the  trunks 
were  not  Saratogas,  but  contained  our  wearing  apparel.  A  journey  of 
1,000  miles  lay  before  us.  With  constantly  new  and  changing  scenery, 
delightful  and  invigorating  air,  the  trip  was  pleasant  and  enjoyable. 
Spent  one  week  with  friends  in  Indiana  and  arrived  at  our  future  home 
October  12.  Then  commenced  the  new  experience  of  housekeeping  and 
farm  life  in  a  log  cabin  13x15  feet  inside,  with  "loft"  in  which  three  cor- 
ners were  occupied  by  beds  and  one  by  a  ladder  (for  stairs).  Below  was 
a  bed,  cookstove,  cupboard,  small  sink  (or  washstand),  table,  bureau,  with 
chairs  and  benches  needful  for  a  family  of  six.  A  sister-in-law,  who  had 
been  the  previous  housekeeper,  was  visiting  us  with  her  affianced,  who 
were  intending  to  marry  and  go  east  in  the  spring.  In  February  we 
were  visited  by  an  aunt  and  her  son-in-law  from  Ottawa.  The  proposi- 
tion was  made  that  the  wedding  should  take  place  at  that  time.  A  mes- 
senger was  dispatched  to  the  county  seat  for  a  license  and  clergyman. 
High  water  prevented  his  reaching  the  county  clerk,  so  the  license  could 
not  be  procured.  Our  visitors  then  proposed  that  we  all  return  with 
them  and  the  ceremony  be  performed  at  their  house.  Hasty  preparations 
were  made.  Flouring  mills  at  Dayton  being  not  far  from  Ottawa,  three 
or  four  sacks  of  wheat  were  put  up  to  take  to  have  ground  or  exchanged 
for  flour,  and  a  company  of  six  started.  The  snow  was  gone,  frost  not 
out  of  the  ground  enough  to  make  the  roads  very  soft,  and  the  weather 
dull.  About  six  miles  brought  us  to  the  first  creek,  which  was  much 
swollen,  and  the  question  arose  how  it  could  be  crossed.  Our  friend  had 
a  span  of  large  horses  which  were  unhitched,  the  sacks  of  grain  placed 
upon  their  backs  and  swam  across,  then  rehitched  and  the  party  ferried 
over,  somehow,  without  getting  wet.  One  or  two  other  streams  were 
crossed,  after  which  the  aunt  proposed  changing  seats  with  one  of  the 
other  partv.  The  lot  fell  upon  myself,  and  I  rode  with  our  visitor.  It  was 
probably  the  middle  of  the  afternoon  when  he  said  to  the  others:  '<•!  will 
leave  the  road  and  strike  across  the  prairie,  which  will  be  shorter,  and  get 
home  to  tell  my  wife  that  she  prepare  for  the  company."  The  others 
kept  the  road.  The  fog  soon  became  so  dense  that  we  could  see  nothing 

—  389  — 


at  any  distance.  The  wind  was  an  uncertain  guide.  We  rode  on  and  on 
until  night  and'no  indication  of  any  habitation.  At  length,  finding  we 
were  only  going  round  and  round  in  a  circle  we  stopped,  not  knowing 
which  way  to  go.  There  was  a  good  moon  and  though  foggy  it  was  not 
dark.  An  umbrella  protected  us  from  the  mist  and  it  was  not  cold. 
When  morning  came  we  could  see  where  the  sun  rose,  and  starting  again, 
found  ourselves  but  a  short  distance  from  the  road  and  reached  ourdecti- 
nation  about  ten  o'clock.  The  wedding  came  off  the  evening  of  the  same 
day,  and  the  adventure  caused  much  merriment.  We  returned  to  our 
home  in  a  few  days.  The  newly  wedded  couple  (Dr.  R.  L.  Adams  and 
Deborah  Ingals)  left  us  in  March  for  Vermont,  but  returned  after  a  time 
to  Lee  County.  Our  cabin  being  near  the  main  road  north  and  south  we 
often  entertained  travelers  and  had  some  pleasant  experiences  in  that 
way.  Another  incident  occurred  the  next  winter.  I  think  in  February. 
One  cold  stormy  afternoon  a  man  came  in  for  help  to  get  a  load  out  of  a 
little  creek  about  two  miles  distant,  where  it  was  stuck  fast  in  trying  to 
cross.  My  husband  asked  him  to  wait  until  the  storm  was  over  and  be 
would  help  him,  to  which  he  readily  assented.  A  friend  from  Princeton 
was  visiting  me  at  the  time  and  as  a  natural  thing  I  had  tried  to  have  a 
good  supper  that  evening  of  chicken  and  such  vegetables  as  we  had.  All 
was  on  the  table  and  we  were  about  sitting  down  when  a  step  jarred  the 
puncheon  floor,  one  leg  slipped  into  a  large  crack,  and  down  went  one 
corner,  dishes,  supper  and  all  in  a  henp.  Whether  anything  but  dishes 
was  saved  I  do  not  remember,  but  know  another  meal  was  cooked.  The 
event  had  passed  out  of  mind  and  was  recalled  years  after  by  a  neighbor, 
who  heard  the  m.in  that  stopped  for  help'relate  it  where  she  was  visiting 
in  another  town. 

In  those  early  days  neighbors  had  no  prescribed  bounds,  and  roads 
were  not  fenced,  driving  eight  or  ten  miles  to  make  a  social  visit  was  no 
uncommon  thing.  If  a  minister  stopped  in  the  vicinity  word  was  at 
oncesent  around,  the  people  would  gather  at  some  place  and  have  service. 
Many  enjoyable  and  profitable  raeetings  were  held  in  different  calins. 
Time  passed,  the  population  increased,  also  labor  and  care,  which  in  a 
measure  restricted  the  old,  free  intercourse.  Schools  and  churches  were 
established.  Ycung  people  grew  up,  married  and  scatteied,  some  to 
build  homes  in  other  new  places,  some  to  the  city  to  enter  various  avo- 
cations of  life.  Generations  have  come  and  gone.  The  ranks  of  old 
settlers  are  depleted  until  very  few  are  left  to  be  interested  in  the  great 
enterprise  now  absorbing  so  much  attention. 

A  brother,  Dr.  Ephraim  Ingals,  also  well  known  and  highly  esteemed 

—  390  — 


in  Lee  county,  sends  us  from  bis  beautiful  Chicago  hoire,  with  pictures 
of  himself  and  wife,  the  following  interesting  story  of  pioneer  days. 

In  the  autumn  of  1832,  my  eldest  brothers,  Henry  and  Addison,  next 
older  than  myself,  came  to  Illinois  and  settled  on  the  Illinois  river,  near 
where  Chandlersville  now  stands.  Mr.  Lincoln  surveyed  my  brother's 
farm  for  him.  In  the  spring  of  1836  my  brother,  Charles  F.  Ingais,  took 
up  a  claim  at  the  east  end  of  Palestine  Grove  on  the  laud  where  he 
lived  more  than  fifty  years.  Addison  and  Deborah,  (our  sister)  came 
north  with  Francis  to  assist  in  improving  the  claim.  She  stopped  near 
Ottawa,  with  her  uncle,  the  father  of  R.  E.  Goodell,  now  of  Denver,  who 
was  to  some  extent  associated  with  the  early  history  of  Lee  County,  while 
the  brothers  went  out  to  build  a  cabin  for  their  home. 

During  the  two  weeks  they  were  building  the  cabin  of  logs  they  lived 
in  a  tent  made  of  the  cover  of  their  farm  wagon,  for  which  their  only 
team  was  a  pair  of  oxen.  When  the  cabin  was  inclosed  Francis  went  to 
Ottawa  with  this  team  for  Deborah,  leaving  Addison,  then  but  sixteen 
years  old,  at  the  camp.  The  only  persons  he  saw  during  his  two  days 
solitude  were  about  seventy  Indians  who  called  uninvited  while  he  was 
at  breakfast.  They  asked  fur  food,  of  which  he  had  little  to  give.  An 
Indian  trail  from  Green  river  east  to  Chicago  passed  close  by  the  camp. 
This  could  be  plainly  seen  a  number  of  years  later  when  the  prairie  was 
burned  off,  as  it  stretched  away  over  the  ridges  towards  Melugins  Grove. 
The  trail  crossed  the  creek  about  a  mile  directly  west  of  the  Ingais  farm, 
at  what  was  called  the  thicket.  This  was  a  little  fertile  bottom  on 
which  grew  numerous  wild  plum  trees  t.hat  bore  excellent  fruit;  also  crab 
apples,  butternuts,  hazelnut,  grapes  and  May-apples.  As  there  were  only 
wild  fruits  in  the  country  then,  these  were  all  highly  prized.  This  had 
been  the  site  of  an  Indian  camp  during  the  winter  of  1835  and  '36  and 
their  lodge  poles  were  standing  a  number  of  years  later.  MA  Ingais  built 
his  cabin  in  a  hazel  thicket,  on  the  spot  where  he  afterward  built  his 
house. 

Returning  from  Ottawa  with  Deborah  he  reached  the  camp  in  the 
evening,  after  a  fatiguing  day's  ride  of  thirty  miles,  in  a  lumber  wagon 
without  springs,  drawn  by  a  pair  of  oxen.  The  cabin  was  not  chinked, 
and  its  light  of  welcome  as  they  approached  it  shone  not  from  windows, 
but  from  between  the  logs.  It  had  no  floor  and  the  stubs  from  recently 
cut  hatfel  brush  were  far  from  pleasant.  As  Deborah  looked  into  the 
cabin,  she  said — and  in  no  spirit  of  irony — "Francis,  what  a  nice  home 
you  have  provided  for  me.''  There  was  no  better  housekeeper  than  she 
Her  linen  and  table,  however  simple  they  might  be,  were  spotless.  The 

—  391  — 


beauty  and  excellence  of  thp  first  breakfast  she  prepared,  served,  though 
it  was  on  a  drygoods  box  gave  memories  that  the  lapse  of  near  three  score  years 
lias  not  effaced.  Her  only  neighbors  were  in  the  Doan  settlement  two 
miles  west,  Inlet  Grove  five  north,  Melugin's  Grove  seven  east  and  settlers 
on  the  Bureau  creek  ten  south.  No  one  then  built,  except  in  immediate 
contact  with  the  timber.  The  nearest  store  where  a  lady  could  shop  was 
at  Dixon,  twelve  miles  away.  This  however  did  not  much  matter,  for  the 
simplicity  of  pioneer  life  required  but  little  and  had  it  been  otherwise 
there  was  no  money  with  which  to  make  purchases. 

When  fourteen  years  old,  in  the  autumn  of  1837,  I  joined  this  family, 
having  remained  until  that  time  in  New  England,  in  the  winter  of 
1837-8  the  three  brothers  and  sisters  used  to  attend  religious  services 
at  the  log  house  of  a  Mr.  Bridgman,  which  stood  just. across  the  creek 
west  of  the  thicket,  on  the  present  road  from  Binghampton  to  Sublette. 
We  went  with  the  oxen  and  farm  wagon  with  boards  across  the  box  for 
seats,  following  the  Indian  trail  through  the  woods.  A  Mr.  Vincent,  a 
relative  of  an  eastern  divine  of  some  eminence  having  the  same  name, 
was  our  preacher.  The  next  place  of  worship  in  the  v'cinity  was  a  small 
log  school  house  on  the  east  side  of  the  before  mentioned  creek,  which 
was  not  of  sufficient  size  to  have  received  a  name,  a  mile  north  of  Mr. 
Bridgman,  and  near  the  "Widow  Varners."  I  think  it  was  called  by  her 
name.  In  this  house  I»uke  Hitchcock  sometimes  preached  soon  after  he 
came  to  Illinois.  Rev.  Joseph  Gardner  used  to  hold  service  there.  At 
one  of  his  meetings  he  had  for  an  auditor  Joseph  Smith,  the  founder  of 
Monnonism.  Curiosity  to  hear  Smith,  induced  Mr.  Gardner  to  invite 
him  to  close  the  services  with  prayer,  which  he  did.  After  the  audience 
was  dismissed,  Smith  said  to  Mr.  Gardner  in  an  apologetic  way,  "I  was 
never  gifted  in  prayer." 

Smith's  wife  was  a  sister  of  Mrs.  Wasson.  who  lived  near  where  Am- 
boy  now  is.  He  came  there  to  visit,  and  on  one  occasion^  was  arrested,  I 
presume  on  some  trumped  up  charge.  His  brother  William,  one  of  the 
witnesses  to  the  finding  of  the  plates  of  the  Book  of  Mormon,  lived  in 
Palestine  Grove,  not  far  from  Rocky  Ford,  and  had  some  followers  there. 
They  projected  a  temple  and  progressed  so  far  as  to  lay  a  corner  stone. 
Smith  lived  in  a  very  poor  way,  and  seemed  much  adverse  to  labor.  He 
went  one  day  and  cut  some  poles  from  the  tops  of  fallen  trees.  Going 
home  he  fell  from  the  load  and  broke  his  arm.  I  was  sent  for.  but  as  I 
was  ten  miles  away  5t  was  some  time  before  I  reached  him  and  the  plac- 
ing ot  it  in  croper  dressings  gave  him  considerable  pain.  During  this  he 
suspended  his  groans  long  enough  to  say:  "I  was  never  blessed  when  I 

—  392  — 


MRS.  C.  F.    IIMGALLS. 


engaged  in  manual  labor.  I  think  I  have  another  work  to  perform." 
That  he  should  think  a  special  providence  was  punishing  him  for  bringing 
home  a  load  of  wood  to  keep  his  family  from  freezing,  caused  me  to  smile, 
notwithstanding  my  sympathy  for  him  in  his  suffering. 

Our  cabin  was  built  of  unhewn  logs.  It  had  but  one  room  on  the 
ground  and  one  above  which  was  but  two  logs  high  on  the  sides  and  but 
seven  feet  at  the  ridgepole.  This  was  reached  from  the  lower  room  by  a 
ladder.  The  only  implements  used  in  the  construction  of  the  cabin  were 
an  ax,  a  froe,  auger  and  a  shave.  No  iron  was  used  in  the  building  and 
no  sawed  lumber  except  for  the  first  floor  and  one  small  door  through 
which  a  man  could  net  walk  upright  with  his  hat  on.  The  upper  floor 
was  made  of  rive  boards  and  the  roof  of  the  same,  held  in  place  by 
weight-poles.  Our  furniture  consisted  of  an  improvised  table,  the  legs  of 
which  crossed  like  those  of  a  saw-horse,  boards  being  nailed  over  the  top. 
We  had  but  two  chairs.  One  of  these  had  a  splint  bottom,  and  the 
other,  from  which  this  was  gone,  had  been  replaced  by  a  board.  We 
made  other  seats  by  putting  legs  in  puncheons  about  four  inchs  thick  and 
four  feet  long.  These  we  cushioned  by  nailing  coon  skins  around  them. 
They  had  no  backs  and  I  need  not  say  they  were  very  uncomfortable. 

The  chairs  had  the  place  of  honor,  and  were  reserved  for  ladies  and 
favored  guests.  The  joists  on  which  the  upper  floor  of  the  house  was 
laid  were  made  of  small  trees  about  six  inches  through  at  the  butt,  and 
as  these  were  green  when  put  in  they  allowed  the  floor  to  sag  very  much 
in  the  middle  of  the  room.  The  upper  floor,  as  I  have  said,  was  made  of 
rive  boards  laid  two  deep  on  the  joists,  but  not  nailed.  Sometimes  they 
would  become  displaced  so  that  a  leg  of  the  bedstead  would  drop  through, 
which  was  enough  to  awaken  even  a  tired  boy.  The  roof  was  proof 
against  rain,  but  sncw  would  blow  through  it  plentifully,  giving  an  ample 
added  covering  to  the  bed  in  the  morning.  The  house  sheltered  on  an 
average  six  persons  and  we  were  obliged  to  lodge  travelers,  as  we  were 
some  miles  away  from  any  public  house. 

I  remember  with  much  pleasure  on  one  occasion  that  Owen  Lovejoy 
was  snowbound  with  us  two  nights  and  a  day,  for  we  lacked  all  mental 
stimulus.  Our  only  paper  was  the  Saturday  Courier,  a  weekly,  printed 
in  Philadelphia,  and  only  received  by  regular  course  of  mail  when  it  was 
about  a  month  old.  We  had  but  two  books,  one  the  Lady  of  the  Lake, 
of  which  I  committed  a  good  deal  to  memory;  the  other  the  Bible,  which 
I  did  not  like  to  read  because  I  did  not  know  how  to  read  it.  I  have 
always  regretted  that  I  did  not  improve  the  opportunity  I  then  had  of 
becoming  more  familiar  than  I  am  with  its  merits. 

—  397  — 


Our  farm  implements  were  as  rude  and  imperfect  as  our  cabin  and  its 
furnishing.  Our  harrows  were  made  entirely  of  wood,  the  plows  did  not 
scour,  the  hoes  were  heavy  and  dull,  both  cradle  and  scythe  had  a  home- 
made, straight  snath  with  a  single  nib.  We  thrashed  our  grain  by 
arranging  the  bundles  in  a  circle  on  the  ground,  the  heads  all  leaning 
the  same  way,  and  then  driving  both  oxen  and  horses  against  them  on 
the  circle,  one  person  constantly  tossing  up  the  straw  with  a  fork,  while 
another  drove  the  animals.  We  sometimes  separated  the  wheat  from 
the  chaff  by  passing  it  through  the  wind.  A  common  expression  of  ex- 
cellence then  was  the  "head  of  the  heap."  There  were  no  mechanics 
near.  1  have  tapped  my  boots  from  the  skirts  of  a  worn  out  saddle,  using 
last  and  pegs  that  we  had  made.  Wheat  threshed  in  this  manner  was 
apt  to  be  damp  and  dirty.  I  once  took  a  load  of  it  to  Mo.ek's  mill  to  be 
ground.  This  was  a  log  building  two  stories  high.  It  was  near  the  road 
from  Princeton  to  Dixon  that  passed  by  the  toll-gate  at  the  head  of  the 
Winebago  swamp  from  which  Green  river  takes  its  rise.  Arrived  at  the 
mill  after  a  tedious  drive  of  ten  miles  or  more  along  the  south  side  of 
Palestine  Grove,  a  considerable  part  of  the  way  without  a  road,  I  found 
my  wheat  was  too  wet  to  be  ground."  I  spread  it  in  the  sun  and  stirred 
it  constantly  during  one  bright,  hot  summer  day  and  then  it  was  ground. 
Theliitle  flour  obtained  from  it  was  very  poor,  black  and  heavy.  The 
wheat  was  ground  in  the  basement  and  then  carried  on  a  man's  shoulders 
to  the  bolt  on  the  floor  above.  I  asked  Mr.  Meek  how  his  mill  was  doing. 
He  answered  with  a  degree  of  pride,  "You  can  judge;  it  just  keeps  one 
man  packing."  Being  obliged  to  remain  over  night,  Mr.  Meek  entertain- 
ed me  with  the  most  hospitable  kindness.  Our  breakfast  consisted  of 
mush  and  milk,  and  though  he  had  a  number  of  persons  in  his  family 
the  table  ware  was  limited  to  two  tin  cups  and  spoons.  Mr.  Meek  and 
I  were  accorded  the  place  of  honor  and  were  served  alone  at  the  first 
table.  I  once  went  with  a  sled  to  Green's  mill,  which  was  situated  on 
Fox  river  near  its  mouth,  in  company  with  Charles  Sabin  and  Sherman 
L.  Hatch,  who  still  lives  in  Lee  County.  I  left  home  on  Monday  morning. 
While  at  the  mill  a  violent  rain  melted  all  the  snow  and  left  water  ir. 
the  depression  or  the  roadway  across  the  high  prairie  which  came  to  be  a 
matter  of  great  importance  to  us.  It  was  warm  on  Friday  morning  when 
we  set  out  for  home  with  our  sleds  on  bare  ground,  but  it  soon  began  to 
snow.  It  suddenly  became  cold  and  we  were  enveloped  in  the  most 
severe  blizzard  I  ever  encountered.  There  was  no  house  on  the  twenty 
miles  of  prairie  between  Green's  mill  and  Troy  Grove,  where  we  designed 
to  spend  the  night.  As  the  water  froze  in  the  road  on  the  high  prairie 

—  398  - 


the  wind  kept  it  clear  of  snow  and  we  could  follow  it;  but  in  the  sloughs 
it  would  soon  be  obliterated  by  the  drifting  snow  and  we  would  lose  it. 
When  we  had  crossed  such  a  slough  we  would  leave  one  of  our  number 
with  the  teams  while  the  other  two  hunted  up  and  down  the  slough 
until  the  road  was  found  again.  Had  we  lost  our  way  I  am  sure  we  all 
would  have  perished,  for  the  following  night  was  extremely  cold.  About 
three  miles  from  Troy  Grove  the  road  crossed  the  head  if  the  Tomahawk 
creek.  This  being  filled  with  snow  appeared  like  an  ordinary  slough  and 
we  drove  into  it.  Soon  the  wet  snow  banked  up  in  front  of  the  box  on 
the  sled  and  the  horses  were  unable  to  draw  the  load.  We  unhitched 
our  teams  and  mounting  one  of  the  hoises  ran  them  to  the  shelter  of  the 
grove.  We  spent  the  night  at  Mr.  Dewey's,  and  the  following  morning 
having  provided  ourselves  with  axes  returned  and  chopped  our  sleds  out 
of  the  ice  in  which  they  had  become  firmly  frozen.  We  reached  home  on 
Saturday  at  midnight,  having  spent  on  the  expedition  six  laborious,  dis- 
agreeable and  dangerous  days,  with  results  of  only  a  few  hundred  pounds 
of  poor  flour.  Not  long  since  I  inspected  the  Pillsbury  A.  mill  at  Minne- 
apolis. This  has  a  daily  capacity  of  seven  thousand  barrels  of  beautiful 
flour,  nearly  the  entire  labor  of  producing  it  being  performed  by  auto- 
matic machinery,  and  I  realized  the  extent  to  which  we  had  been  able  to 
Substitute  other  forces  for  muscular  power." 

We  listened  to  the  conversation  of  Mr.  0.  L.  Sawyer,  who  remembers 
away  back  in  1835  how  he  lived  in  his  father's  log  cabin  with  nothing  but 
a  ground  floor,  and  blankets  in  lieu  of  doors  and  windows.  "I  took  a  lit- 
tle trip  from  Galena  to  Inlet,  on  foot  of  course,"  said  he.  "It  was  in  the 
winter  and  when  I  left  Dixon  I  knew  I  should  have  to  travel  rapidly  to 
keep  from  freezing.  So  I  set  out  on  a  run  and  I  kept  it  up  pretty  stead- 
ily for  ten  miles.  I  sat  down  to  rest— I  can  show  you  the  very  knoll  on 
the  farm  owned  by  Mr.  Chamberlain— but  in  a  very  few  minutes  I  felt 
sleepy.  Rousing  myself,  for  I  realized  my  danger,  I  started  on;  but  I 
couldn't  run  £  ny  more,  it  was  difficult  to  even  walk  to  the  first  house,  anc1 
that  belonged  to  Stearn  and  Reynolds  on  the  farm  owned  by  Mr.  Ullrich, 
Sr.  There  1  remained  a  few  hours,  suffering  intensely  from  my  exertions. 
I  walked  on  to  Inlet  that  night  and  mother  was  glad  to  see  me.  Mother 
was  always  glad  to  see  us  boys,  and  I  never  shall  forget  how  sad  she 
looked  when  I  left  home  to  make  my  own  living.  'Twas  the  "last  time  I 
ever  saw  her,  but  I  have  this  to  remember,  she  was  always  the  same  kind, 
patient  and  amiable  mother.  She  died  when  she  was  only  forty-five 
years  old,  leaving  a  ramily  of  twelve  children,  and  she  was  the  first 
woman  buried  in  the  cemetery.  The  world  knows  nothing  about  the 

—  399  — 


heroism  of  such  women."  Thus  the  son  whose  hair  had  whitened  undes 
the  frosts  of  three-quarters  of  a  cent  iry  paid  loving  tribute  to  the  mother 
whose  form  was  hidden  by  the  prairie  sods  more  than  fifty  years  ago. 

"Shall  I  tell  you  how  1  was  cured  of  an  attack  of  pleurisy  without 
either  physician  or  pills?  I  had  taken  a  sudden  cold  which  settled  in  my 
side.  I  knew  by  the  hard  pain  that  something  must  be  done,  and  of 
course  that  something  was  to  bleed  me.  I  had  a  neighbor  that  had  pei- 
formed  this  operation  successfully  for  others,  so  I  walked  down  to  see 
him;  he  lived  three-quarters  of  a  mile  away,  but  that's  nothing  when  you 
want  help  hard.  Luckily  he  was  at  home  and  I  told  him  what  I  wanted, 
'All  right,'  said  he,  'Grasp  the  broomstick  and  hold  it  out  at  arm's 
length.'  Then  he  bound  my  arm  tightly  above  the  elbow  and  gave  me  a 
bowl  to  hold  under  rny  arm.  The  incision  was  made  and  there  I  stood 
holding  broom  stick  and  bowl  until  a  iaintness  nigh  unto  death  crept 
over  me  and  I  called  for  water.  Enough!  pain  gone,  cure  performed,  and 
I  go  home  a  weaker  but  a  wetter  man."  Mr.  Sawyer  married  Miss  Nancy 
Shumway  of  Pennsylvania  in  1842  and  they  commenced  housekeeping  on 
the  last  land  sold  by  the  government  in  this  township,  the  deed  being 
signed  bv  James  K.  Polk,  president.  On  this  farm  they  have  lived  fifty 
years — long  enough  to  celebrate  their  golden  wedding,  which  they  did  in 
a  most  hospitable  and  enjoyable  manner.  But  the  desire  to  be  with  their 
children  has  induced  them  to  sell  the  farm  and  remove  to  Iowa.  Two 
brothers  who  came  at  an  early  day  are  still  on  their  farms  in  Lee  Center 
township.  Mr.  Joseph  Sawyer,  the  father,  was  the  first  postmaster  in 
Inlet,  under  President  Jackson.  It  took  25  cents  to  get  a  letter  from 
Pennsylvania  then,  but  the  government  would  trust  you  until  the  letter 
arrived  at  its  destination.  We  heard  from  a  lady  whose  friends  were 
many  and  living  in  the  eastern  states  that  they  were  not  always  able  to 
pay  the  25  cents  due  when  the  letter  arrived,  and  the  postmaster  would 
trust  them  until  the  postage  bill  would  amount  to  several  dollars,  then 
it  would  take  the  price  of  a  calf  to  pay  the  bill. 

A  tavern  built  of  logs  and  kept  by  Benjamin  Whittaker  stood  where 
Mr.  Cephas  Clapp  lived.  Mr.  Whittaker  was  a  Virginian  and  built  the 
house  now  occupied  by  Mr.  Ullrich.  Here  the  old  stage  coach  halted  in 
its  tedious  journeys  between  Chicago  and  Galena. 

An  old  settler's  daughter  tells  us  that  when  her  mother  first  came 
here,  in  1839,  Whittaker's  "sign"  at  hi.s  tavern  was  three  bottles  hung 
aloft  between  two  poles  before  his  door. 

Of  the  perils  of  the  trip  from  one  part  of  the  country  to  another  in 
those  early  days,  we  can  have  no  more  graphic  picture  than  the  following 

—  400  — 


sketch  from  the  pen  of  Mrs.  S.  W.  Phelps,  long  known  and  loved  among 
the  people  of  Lee  Center  and  vicinity  as  the  wife  of  the  pastor  of  the 
Congregational  church  in  that  place: 

"My  earliest  reminiscences  of  Lee  county,  Illinois,  clustering  closely 
about  Dixon,  date  back  to  1832.  Then  a  child  of  eight  years,  I  was  the 
junior  member  of  a  traveling  party  of  five,  en  route  from  New  York  City 
to  Galena,  111.,  Rev.  Aratus  Kent,  who  was  returning  to  the  "northwest," 
his  missionary  field,  with  his  bride  (my  aunt),  Miss  Pierce,  a  teacher, 
and  Mr.  E.  E.  Hall,  a  young  student  in  course  of  preparation  for  the 
ministry.  The  route  was  via  Hudson  River  to  Albany,  thence  across 
New  York  state  by  Erie  Canal  to  Buffalo,  onward  by  stage  to  Wheeling, 
Va.,  down  the  Ohio  River  and  up  the  Mississippi  by  steamboat,  and  with- 
out detentions  required  a  full  month's  time. 

We  had  left  New  York  in  September,  but  having  been  long  delayed 
by  cholera  among  us  in  Cincinnati,  again  in  St.  Louis  by  other  illness, 
we  w^re  unable  to  leave  that  city  till  after  the  close  of  navigation  on  the 
upper  Mississippi,  beginning  the  overland  trip  of  more  than  400  miles  by 
stage.  Arriving  at  Springfield,  111.,  it  was  found  to  the  dismay  of  the 
older  travelers  that  the  mail  stage  would  travel  no  farther  northward 
before  spring  After  days  of  search  for  a  good  team  for  sale  my  uncle 
bought  a  stout  pair  of  horses,  an  emigrant  wagon,  buffalo  robes,  and 
provided  with  a  compass,  a  large  sack  of  crackers  and  some  dried  beef, 
the  best  provision  for  emergencies  of  hunger  which  the  town  afforded, 
we  set  forth,  soon  to  leave  the  "settlements"  behind  and  to  pass  through 
a  wilderness  country  made  still  more  desolate  by  the  "Black  Hawk 
war." 

Stopping  places  became  more  infrequent,  till  for  the  later  days  of 
the  dreary  way  they  were  forty  miles  apart,  the  blackened  ruins  of 
cabins  now  and  then  marking  the  deserted  "claims."  Roads  (more  prop- 
erly called  "trails"  by  the  inhabitants)  long  unused  and  either  overgrown 
by  pra;rie  grass  or  burned  over  by  autumnal  fires,  were  difficult  to  follow. 

Late  in  the  arternoon  of  Dec.  13th  our  wagou  halted  before  a  little 
cabin  known  as  "Daddy  Joe's."  "Daddy  Joe"  had  espied  us  from  afar, 
and  awaited  our  approach  leaning  upon  the  rail  fence,  smoking  a  cob 
pipe,  his  rotund  figure  topped  off  by  a  well  ventilated  straw  hat.  His 
son,  yet  a  lad,  occupied  a  post  of  observation  upon  a  "top  rail,"  his  head 
also  sheltered  from  the  wintry  winds  by  a  similar  structure. 

"Winnebago  Inlet,'1  known  to  "early  settlers"  as  a  "slough  of  des- 
pond," lay  between  us  and  "Dixon's  Ferry."  our  haven  of  rest  for  the 
coming  night,  and  my  uncle  asked  directions  to  a  safe  crossing  from 

—  401  — 


"Daddy  Joe."  His  advice  given  between  long  puffs  of  his  pipe  was  that 
we  should  go  no  farther  that  "evening."  He  kindly  offered  shelter,  food 
and  his  son  as  guide  in  the  morning,  as  he  was  sure  we  could  not  "make 
the  ford"  before  dark.  His  assertion  that  the  "old  ford"  was  impassable 
and  that  the  "trail"  to  the  new  was  "too  blind  to  folks  after  night"  was 
assuring,  but  anxious  to  push  on,  rny  uncle  urged  the  tired. horses  to  a 
lively  pace.  The  result  proved  "Daddy  Joe"  the  wiser  man.  The  winter 
dusk  came  on  all  too  early,  the  "old  trail"  too  easily  mistaken  for  the 
new,  and  in  the  uncertain  twilight  the  horses  plunged  down  the  steep, 
slippery  bank  into  the  black  abyss  of  the  "old  ford."  The  poor  beasts 
floundered  breast  deep  in  the  icy  mush,  till  just  beyond  midstream  they 
could  go  no  further.  The  wagon  settled  to  its  bed  and  the  three  femi- 
nine occupants  climbed  upon  the  trunks  in  the  rear  end,  there  to  perch 
for  several  hours.  By  desperate  struggles  an  occasional  jerk  brought  us 
a  few  inches  forward,  after  each  one  the  wagon  again  settling  into  the 
miry  bed.  Thus  after  several  hours  of  exhausting  effort  the  two  men 
were  able  to  leap  to  the  shore  from  the  backs  of  the  horses,  bye  and  bye 
to  land  the  stronger  horse  and  with  his  help  to  pull  out  his  fellow,  now 
hardly  able  to  stand  alone.  Then,  one  by  one,  we  were  helped  along 
the  tongue  of  the  wagon  to  "terra  flrma."  My  aunt,  exhausted  by 
fatigue  and  fright,  was  lifted  to  the  back  of  the  better  horse  with  a 
buffalo  robe  as  saddle,  her  husband  leading  the  horse.  Mr.  Hull  followed 
coaxing  along  the  other,  Miss  Pierce  and  myself  bringing  up  the  rear. 
We  started  by  the  light  of  the  now  risen  moon  along  the  trail  in  "Indian 
file"  for  a  walk  of  three  miles  to  "Dixorrs  Ferry" 

I  recall  distinctly  the  feelings  with  which  I  trudged  on  in  the  deep 
silence  of  midnight  under  the  glistening  stars  over  the  boundless 
prairie." 

The  weary  march  ended  at  last,  twinkling  lights  greeted  our  eager 
eyes  and  as  we  quickened  our  pace  the  moonbeams  revealed  a  most  pic- 
turesque, though  somewhat  startling  scene.  White  tents  gleamed  and 
in  every  direction  smouldering  campttfes  showed  dusky,  blanketed  forms 
crouching  or  lying  prone  around  them  while  a  few  white  men  in  army 
uniform  bearing  lanterns  moved  about  with  alert  step  and  keen  eye. 
We  halted  at  once,,  the  ladies  greatly  alarmed,  but  the  watchers  had 
noted  approaching  hoof  beats  and  hurried  to  reassure  us,  explaining 
that  several  thousand  Indians  were  there  encamped,  for  the  final  settle- 
ment of  annuities  and  other  matters  included  in  their  recent  treaty 
with  the  government. 

A  moment  later  we  were  made  welcome  to  the  warmth  and  comfort 

—  402  — 


of  her  neat  cabin  by  Mrs.  Dixon,  who  hastened  to  make  ready  a  hot,  rel- 
ishing supper,  a  royal  feast  to  our  famishing  appetites. 

Our  kind  hostess  gave  up  her  own  soft  bed  bv  ihe  cheerful  hearth  flre 
to  the  ladies,  tucking  me  snugly  away  at  the  foot  to  a  dreamless  sleep, 
finding  a  resting  place  somewhere  among  her  many  guests  for  my  uncle 
and  Mr.  Hall. 

In  the  gray  of  the  earliest  dawn  Mr.  Dixon  and  his  stalwart  sons 
started  out  with  oxen,  chains,  and  poles  to  rescue  the  abandoned  "prairie 
schooner"  from  the  "Inlet  Slough,"  returning  with  it  in  triumphal  pro- 
cession a  few  hours  later.  Meanwhile,  some  one  had  taken  me  out  into 
the  "great  tent"  among  the  warrior  chiefs,  adorned  with  paint  and 
feathers  and  earrings,  and  gorgeous-  in  all  the  new  toggery  obtained 
from  the  agents.  As  we  passed  around  the  circle,  a  painted  chief  caught 
me  up  in  his  arms,  seated  me  on  his  knee,  admired  and  patted  mj  red 
cheeks,  calling  out  "brave  squaw,  brave  squaw,"  because  I  did  not  turn 
pale  and  run  away  in  fear. 

All  preparations  for  a  fresh  start  were  soon  completed,  and  we  made 
haste  to  leave  Lee  County  soil — at  least  so  much  of  it  as  we  were  notcom- 
pelled  to  carry  away  upon  our  belongings.  But  "getting  away"  proved 
no  easy  matter.  The  horses  had  not  been  consulted.  Once  at  the  river's 
brink  our  troubles  began  anew.  The  ferry  was  a  "rope  ferry, "the  boat  a 
"flat  boat"  "poled"  across  the  swift  flowing  river.  The  quivering  horses, 
terrified  at  sight  of  the  water,  refused  to  enter  the  boat.  After  long  and 
vain  urging  they  finally  made  a  wild  plunge  forward  which  sent  the  boat 
spinning  from  the  shore  as  they  sprang  upon  the  boat,  dragging  the  fore 
wheels  of  the  wagon  with  them,  the  hind  wheels  dropping  into  the  river, 
almost  tossing  us  into  the  icy  stream.  Instantly  Mr.  Hall  was  in  the 
shallow  water  with  his  "shoulder  to  the  wheel,"  and  somehow,  between 
the  efforts  of  men  and  horses  the  whole  wagon  was  got  on  board.  After 
a  halt  upon  the  shore  for  advice  i»nd  thanks  to  our  friends;  and  a  chang- 
ing of  the  soaked  garments  for  dry  ones  by  the  chilled  men,  their  dripping 
raiment  fluttering  from  various  points  of  the  wagon  cover,  our  long  ride 
to  the  "lead  mines"  was  again  resumed. 

Upon  the  foregoing  experience  my  only  claim  of  being  an  "early  set- 
tler" of  Lee  County  must  be  based— the  transient  settlement  being  con- 
fined to  the  few  hours  spent  between  the  banks  of  the  "Winnebago 
Inlet." 

Twenty  years  later  this  pioneer  journey  came  vividly  to  my  thoughts 
while  we  waited  in  Dixon  for  the  wagon  from  Lee  Center,  which  conveyed 
us  to  the  welcoming  people  who  soon  became  "our  people,"  whose  welfare 

—  403  — 


became  the  warp  into  which  so  many  years  of  our  own  lives  were  inter- 
woven, whose  sorrows  we  carried  in  our  hearts,  and  in  whose  gladness  we 
were  glad— our  affections  taking  root  so  deeply  among  them  that  the  pain 
of  transplanting  still  lingers  with  an  abiding  ache  in  two  hearts  now 
grown  more  familiar  with  the  minor  key  in  life's  experiences,  than  with 
the  major  music  of  its  joys." 

There  is  a  story  that  in  those  early  days  four  families  came  here  from 
the  east  with  the  few  worldly  effects  which  could  be  stowed  in  their 
wagons; 'but  there  was  no  home,  nothing  like  home,  except  the  blue  sky 
and  the  genial  sunshine.  The  mountains  were  only  pictured  in  memory, 
and  the  little  fields,  outlined  by  straggling,  irregular  stumps,  over  which 
vines  ran  rampant  all  the  summer,  seemed  far  away.  The  prairies  were 
so  wide  and  the  windsswept  over  them  unchecked  by  either  rocksor  hills. 
It  was  all  so  strange,  so  new,  that  the  wonder  remains  to  this  day  why 
they  did  not  all  turn  around  and  go  back  to  their  native  homes.  But 
the  story  goes  that  two  families,  never  having  taken  their  wagon  covers 
off,  retraced  their  steps.  The  other  two  remained  and  went  to  work  with 
a  will;  cut  and  hewed  logs  and  reared  their  cabins  with  the  energy 
which  characterized  the  true  pioneer.  A  member  of  one  of  these  families, 
Mr.  Ralph  Ford,  relates  how  he  hired  out  to  work  on  a  farm,  the  first 
year  receiving  $7  per  month.  The  next  year  he  was  paid  $9  and  the  next 
$11,  showing  steadv  progression. 

Mr.  Ford  tells  of  a  trip  he  made  to  Chicago,  which  in  those  days  con- 
sisted of  thirty-three  frame  shanties,  standing  in  the  water.  He  with 
two  other  men  drove  in  some  hogs,  the  round  trip  occupying  sixteen  days. 
As  corn  was  plenty  and  cost  only  6  cents  per  bushel,  they  fed  generously, 
drove  slowly,  and  at  the  'end  of  their  trip  marketed  their  hogs  for  H 
cents  per  pound.  In  the  spring  of  '40  Mr.  Ford  drove  a  pair  of  oxen  to 
Chicago.  The  wagon  was  loaded  with  wheat.  Many  showers  and  a  hot 
sun  caused  the  wheat  to  sprout  on  the  way.  The  grain  depot  consisted 
.if  a  floating  wharf,  or  corduroy  bridge  anchored  to  the  shore,  where  boats 
loaded  and  unloaded  their  cargo.  It  cost  the  man  who  owned  the  wheat 
20  cents  per  bushel  to  get  it  to  Chicago,  and  he  then  had  to  sell  it  as 
damaged  wheat  to  a  starch  factory  down  the  river. 

Mr.  F.  took  his  turn  at  driving  the  old  stage  coach.  A  cumbrous 
vehicle  it  was,  weighing  3300  pounds,  and  when  weighted  down  with 
prairie  mud  and  passengers,  probably  amounted  to  several  pounds  more. 
Four  large  horses  were  driven  before  the  coach,  from  Chicago  to  Galena, 
and  the  passengers  paid  five  cents  per  mile  and  had  to  carry  a  rail  half 
the  time,  at  that,  to  pry  the  stage  out  of  the  sloughs  it  had  to  pass. 

—  404  — 


Starting  from  the  tavern  in  Lee  Center  at  noon,  the  driver  must  occupy 
his  position  until  12  o'clock  at  night:  then  the  next  man  took  it  for 
twelve  hours. 

Many  romantic  episodes  occurred  in  the  lives  of  these  old  settlers,  and 
if  we  felt  at  liberty  to  repeat  the  stories  which  we  have  heard  from  their 
lips,  it  would  lend  both  humor  and  pathos  to  these  pages.  We  were  de- 
sirous of  finding  who  were  the  parties  in  the  first  matrimonial  alliance. 
Mr.  Volney  Bliss  furnished  us  with  the  desired  information. 

In  the  jear  1836,  a  Mr.  Albert  Static  and  Miss  Elmira  Carpenter  were 
married  by  Daniel  M.  Dewey,  justice  of  the  peace.  "Speaking  of  wed- 
dings," said  one  of  the  old  settlers,  "reminds  me  of  one  I  attended  in 
those  early  days.  The  squire  performed  the  ceremony  standing  in  the 
open  door  of  the  house  belonging  to  the  groom.  A  good  many  of  us  had 
gathered  around  the  door  with  old  tin  pans,  horns  and  guns  and  as  soon 
as  the  squire  stopped  talking,  we  began  to  deal  out  music  (?)to  the  newly 
married  couple.  Oh,  the  horrid  din!  'Twas  .the  first  charivari  I  ever 
attended  and  almost  the  last.  I  believe  there  were  two  or  three  more  in 
the  neighborhood  after  that." 

The  hard  labor  and  isolated  lives  of  our  pioneers  did  not  detract  from 
their  patriotic  zeal. 

A  lady  informant,  who  attended  the  Fourth  of  July  celebration  in  1842 
writes:  "I  can  only  remember  that  it  rained  during  the  exercises,  which 
were  held  in  the  little  school  house  at  Inlet.  The  rain  ceased  about  the 
close,  but  the  grass  was  so  wet  it  was  almost  decided  to  eat  the  dinner 
we  had  prepared  indoors,  instead  of  marching  to  the  booths  where  the 
tables  had  been  improvised.  The  ladies  disliked. the  plan  of  adjourning 
to  the  school  house,  so  we  took  a  vote  as  to  where  the  dinner  should  be 
uaten.  We  unanimously  voted  to  go  to  the  tables.  This  decision  so 
pleased  the  gentlemen  that  they  gave  us  three  rousing  cheers,  and  gal- 
lantly offered  to  go  out  and  turn  over  the  grass  and  shake  the  water  out, 
so  we  need  not  wet  our  slippers  or  draggle  our  skirts.  The  orator  of  the 
day  was  Dr.  R.  F.  Adams,  now  of  Denver.  Mr.  Joseph  Farwell  furnished 
music  with  his  his  violin,  and  Mr.  Joseph  Sawyer  beat  the  big  bass 
drum." 

In  1840  Luke  Hitchcock  married  a  couple,  who,  though  they  did  not 
come  here  to  live  till  years  after,  have  always  jbeen  interested  in  Lee 
Center,  and  Lee  Center  in  them,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Cephas  Clapp.  Mr.  Clapp 
had  come  west  a  year  or  more  before,  and  when  his  sister  and  husband 
(Mr.  and  Mrs.  Lewis  Clapp)  weno  east  in  1840  they  brought  back  with 
them  his  promised  wife,  Mildred  Snow.  They  had  the  pioneer's  ex- 

—  405  — 


perience  in  getting  here,  being  "sloughed"  and  fording  Bureau  creek 
when  their  trunks  had  to  be  put  on  the  seats  of  the  wagon,  and  they 
themselves  to  sit  like  tailors  on  the  other  seals  to  keep  dry;  but  the 
bride  was  just  as  brave  and  cheerful  as  she  always  has  been  and  ao  ready 
to  bear  anything  for  her  loved  ones.  They  were  married  at  Lewis  Clapp's 
and  the  next  Sunday  Mrs.  Clapp  remembers  going  to  meeting  in  tne  old, 
log  school  house  at  Inlet  in  the  forenoon,  and  at  Mr.  Tripp's  barn  in  the 
afternoon.  Here  she  met  many  of  the  old  settlers  and  formed  ties  of 
interest  still  strong  and  abiding.  She  remembers  "Uncle  Dan  Frost"  led 
the  singing,  and  how  well  he  sang;  and  that  Mrs  Dr.  Gardner  said  with 
tears  she  "hoped  they  wouldn't  be  as  homesick  as  ehe  had  been." 

Rev.  James  Brewer,  now  living  at  Wheaton,  Illinois,  expresses  his 
commendation  of  the  work  in  hand  in  the  following  words:  "It  is  surely 
a  very  grateful  thing  that  as  the  history  of  earth's  glacial  period  has 
been  rescued  from  oblivion  by  investigations  of  the  boulders  left  from 
its  movements,  so  there  are  those  enough  interested  in  the  Genesis  of 
Lee  Center's  history  to  take  the  pains  to  investigate  the  old  boulders 
which  still  lie  with  striated  surfaces  along  its  course,  and  write  out  their 
story  of  an  earlier  age." 

Mr.  Brewer  rode  on  horseback  from  Montgomery,  Ala.,  to  Inlet  in  the 
fall  of  1843.  "I  found  my  way  by  inquiring  for  large  towns.  At  Spring 
field,  111.,  I  inquired  for  Peoria,  thence  I  came  to  Princeton,  thence  to 
Greenfield  (now  Lamoille),  thence  to  Dixon's  Ferry.  At  Green  river 
(Inlet  creek)  I  received  the  first  knowledge  of  Inlet,  the  chief  town  of 
the  Lee  Center  which  was  to  be."  Mr.  B.  speaks  of  several  private 
schools  in  and  about  Inlet.  "In  one  such  Mrs.  Sallie  P.  Starks  taught  a 
class  of  ten  pupils,  five  boys  and  five  girls,  from  about  one  year  old  to 
near  twenty-one  years  old,  and  the  excellence  of  her  work  is  manifest  in 
the  noble  after  lives  of  such  as  Bets>  S.  Shaw,  Emeline  Williamson  and 
Esther  M.  Chadwick.  This  woman  taught  12  hours  a  day  and  all  the 
year  round.  Several  years  after  his  first-coming  to  Inlet  Mr.  Brewer 
occupied  the  position  of  principal  of  the  Lee  Center  academy,  and  the 
first  bell,  "an  exceeding  sweet  and  far  sounding  one,"  was  purchased 
while  he  was  teaching  there. 

And  now  a  word  about  this  structure  bearing  the  name  of  academy. 
In  or  near  1846  the  question  was  agitated  in  regard  to  the  erection  of  a 
brick  building  which  would  serve  as  a  school  building;  also  as  a  place  for 
conducting  religious  services.  When  Mr.  Moses  Crombie  and  wile  cast  in 
their  lot  with  the  people  of  Lee  Center  Mr.  Crombie  was  a  carpenter  by 
trade,  and  took  the  contract  for  building  the  brick  part  of  the  old  acad 

—  406  — 


etny.  When  completed  it  Was  an  imposing  structure  for  those  times 
and  indicated  the  character  of  those  who  aided  in  its  erection  as  true 
interpreters  of  the  wisdom  of  knowledge. 

It  was  a  grand  step  forward  when  in  1853  the  stone  part  of  the  present 
edifice  was  added  to  accommodate  the  throng  of  students  knocking  at 
its  doors  for  admission. 

In  '53  Mr.  S.  Wright,  of  Battle  Creek,  Mich.,  assumed  the  reins  of 
government.  For  the  next  three  years  the  school  was  the  principal  edu- 
cational center  of  this  and  adjoining  counties.  Man}"  pupils  came  from 
other  states  and  almost  every  home  In  town  sheltered  one  or  more  board- 
ers. Mr.  Wright  would  proudly  remark,  "Yes,  this  is  one  of  the  best,  if 
not  the  very  best  school  in  the  northwest."  We  clip  from  an  old  cata- 
logue published  during  Mr. Wright's  reign.  "Lee  Center  Union  Academy 
is  pleasantly  situated  upon  one  of  the  most  delightful  and  healthy  prair 
ies  of  the  west  Lee  Center  is  a  small  village,  free  from  the  contaminat- 
ing influences  that  are  always  associated  with  depots  and  larger  places: 
it  is  also  free  from  saloons  and  resorts  of  dissipation  tnat  have  a  tenden- 
cy to  draw  the  youth  from  the  path  of  rectitude  The  school  is  now  per- 
manently established,  and  one  which  will  afford  equal  advantages  with 
any  academy  or  seminary  in  the  west.  A  valuable  library  is  connected 
with  the  institution,  to  which  the  student  can  have  access  by  the  pay- 
ment of  25  cents  per  quarter."  The  names  of  seven  trustees  and  five 
special  directors  are  given,  together  with  a  list  of  six  as  "Visiting  Com- 
mittee." The  board  of  instructors  are  assigned  to  departments  in  ancient 
languages,  ornamental  branches  and  modern  languages,  instrumental 
music,  mathematics,  and  two  lectures  on  physiology  and  philosophy. 

Those  were  indeed  the  palmy  days  of  dear  old  Lee  Center— pleasant 
white  cottages  embowered  in  trees,  shady  streets  and  grassy  lawns  made 
it  a  "faire  greene  countrie  towne."  It  was  the  pride  and  pleasure  of  the 
dwellers  therein  to  watch  the  surprise  of  relatives  from  the  eastern  states 
when  introduced  to  the  social  circle  there;  they  found  homes  of  refine- 
ment and  culture  equal  to  those  they  knew  in  New  England,  daughters 
as  lovely  and  accomplished  and  sons  as  noble  and  manly  as  any  they  had 
left  behind,  and  they  never  failed  to  give  it  their  highest  meed  of  praise 
by  saying,  "It  was  so  much  like  a  New  England  village."  Who  of  the 
younger  "old  settlers"  will  ever  forget  the  time  when  they  gathered  about 
that  old  academy — Lyceums,  lectures,  donations,  traveling  entertain- 
ments in  the  academy  "chapel."'  Or  the  time — before  the  three  pretty 
churches  were  built,  when  there  was  Congregational  service  and  Sunday 
school  Sunday  morning,  Episcopal  service  and  Sunday  school  in  the  after 

—  407  — 


noon,  and  Methodist  in  the  evening,  with  almost  the  same  congregation 
and  children  in  all  three;  the  greatest  difference  being  that  Deacon 
Cromhie  and  Deacon  Barnes  gathered  the  offerings  of  the  congregation  in 
the  morning,  Dr.  Gardner  and  Mr.  Garrett  La  Forge  in  the  afternoon  and 
two  good  Methodist  brethren  in  the  evening,  and  that  there  was  a  differ- 
ent parson  in  the  desk  at  each. 

Nor  did  Lee  Center  and  her  young  people  fall  behind  the  rest  of  the 
county  in  the  next  page  of  history;  for  in  that  old  academy  chapel  were 
held  some  of  the  most  stirring  "war  meetings,"  and  thare  were  enlisted 
as  large  and  brave  a  proportion  as  any  town  sent.  Here,  too,  the  girls 
gave  many  an  entertainment  for  the  benefit  of  the  old  "Sanitary  Com- 
mission"— which  would  not  have  shamed  those  of  a  city  even,  and  sent 
generous  returns  to  the  "boys  in  blue." 

During  this  time  schools  were  being  established  in  adjoining  towns, 
which  of  course  detracted  steadily  from  the  attendance,  until  at  present 
it  ranks  as  a  graded  district  school.    Many  of  the  pupils  who  have  been 
sheltered  beneath  its  roof  are  now  breasting  the  current  of  life  in  places 
of  honor  and  distinction.      Many,   in  homes  scattered  throughout  our 
Union,  are  fulfilling  the  promise  of  their  early  days — 
"What  the  child  admired 
The  youth  endeavored,  and  the  man  acquired." 

And  many  rest  from  their  labors,  for  God  called  them. 

The  feet  of  the  younger  generations  tread  in  and  out  the  old  rooms 
now,  the  curriculum  of  study  has  been  simplified,  another  bell  swings  in 
the  weatherbeaten  belfry,  the  corps  of  instructors  has  been  narrowed 
down  to  two,  still  the  influences  of  the  olden  time  dwells  in  the  hearts 
and  lives  of  those  who  were  wont  to  gather  in  the  old  academy,  exhort- 
ing to  truest  man  and  womanhood. 

The  Congregational  church  was  organized  at  the  home  of  Mr.  Moses 
Crombie  and  called  the  "Congregational  Church  of  Palestine  Grove.'' 
Then  we  understand  worship  was  conducted  until  1849  in  what  was 
called  the  Wasson  school  house,  after  which  it  was  moved  to  Lee  Center. 
Of  the  organization  of  the  Methodist  church  we  have  spoken  before  and 
we  know  that  for  many  years  Luke  Hitchcock,  among  the  best  and  best 
beloved  of  that  communion,  was  here;  that  Philo  Judson — afterward  a 
foreign  missionary— preached  here,  and  that  good  old  "Father  Penfield" 
often  filled  the  sacred  desk,  as  well  as  the  early  circuit  riders  mentioned 
in  other  papers.  The  Episcopal  church  was  not  a  pioneer  organization 
here  and  gradually  retrograded  after  its  founders  and  chief  supporters, 
Dr.  Gardner  and  Garrett  La  Forge  left  the  town,  until  it  is  opened  for 
service  only  upon  rare  occasions. 

—  408  — 


We  were  happy  to  find  snugly  pasted  in  an  old  scrap-book  a  letter 
descriptive  of  the  audience  that  were  wont  to  worship  in  the  "brick  part" 
of  the  old  academy  previous  to  the  building  of  the  churches.  The  style 
of  the  letter  suggests  that  the  writer  must  have  been  Mrs.  James  Crom- 
bie,  who  was  long  a  resident  of  Lee  Center,  and  our  literary  "star."  She 
evidently  arrived  by  stage  in  the  early  hours  of  a  November  morning,  for 
she  says,  "How  the  winds  whistled  and  penetrated  when  the  stage  un- 
loaded its  passengers,  and  the  moon  looked  coldly  down  upon  the  Acad- 
emy, as  it  stood  there  alone  on  the  prairie,  unenclosed  or  beautified  by 
tree  or  shrub.  It  was  well  filled  that  Sabbath  morning  as  we  entered, 
for  the  Palestine  people  were  over  and  added  largely  to  the  congregation. 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  Farwell  and  Brainard,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  John  C.  Church,  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Cyrus  Davis  and  some  others  were  present  from  there.  It  was 
before  the  days  of  fashion  and  dress,  although  Miss  Mary  Barnes  had 
spent  a  few  weeks  in  the  millinery  rooms  at  LaSalle,  and  she  had  added 
a  bright  ribbon  here  and  there  in  trimming  some  of  the  bonnets.  Mrs. 
liodine  was  spending  the  winter  at  Mr.  Charles  Hitchcock's,  from  Staten 
Island,  and  she  had  a  little  of  the  city  airs.  Dr.  R.  F.  Adams  and  wife, 
Dr.  and  Mrs.  Ingals  and  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Lewis  Clapp  were  chatting  to- 
gether before  service.  Deacon  Barnes  and  wife,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Moses 
Crombie,  Mr.  Lyman  Wheat,  Joseph 'ne  and  George,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Swart- 
out,  Ahram  and  Nelson,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Bradford  Church,  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Charles  Frisbee,  Mr.  Martin  Wright  and  Helen,  Rev.  James  Brewer, 
principal  of  the  academy,  Miss  Harriet  Rewey,  the  primary  teacher,  Mr. 
David  Smith  and  his  two  bright-eyed  daughters,  Mrs.  Bourne  and  Mrs. 
Sancer,  Mrs.  Lee  Clapp  and  Alice,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Jacob  Bodine  and  Albert 
Z.  Bodine,  Mr.  Ira  Brewer  came  with  his  wagon  filled.  Uncle  Elisha 
Pratt,  Elisha  and  Sarah  were  down  from  Bradford,  John  Warwick,  Sarah 
(Mrs.  John  Crombie)  and  Sabra.  Esquire  Haskell  came  in  later.  There 
was  a  weary  look  on  the  faces  of  those  who  came  in  the  earlier  days, 
telling  of  trial  and  care.  The  path  had  been  hard  to  travel  in  opening 
up  the  farms  and  building  new  homes.  The  pastor,  Rev.  S.  W.  Phelps, 
was  at  the  desk,  and  he  had  a  quiet,  unobtrusive  expression  as  if  shrink- 
ing from  the  duties  before  him.  This  is  his  first  pastorate.  Mr.  Brewer 
pitches  the  tunes.  Mr.  John  Wetherbee,  the  Misses  Barnes,  Mrs.  Henry 
Frisbee  and  Mrs.  Martin  Wright  composed  the  choir."  Those  of  us  who 
read  these  names  realize  that  the  greater  number  composing  this  audi- 
ence have  "passed  over." 

We  next  give  a  brief  page  from  the  pen  of  Mr.  Phelps,  the  congre- 
gational pastor  spoken  of  above,  whose  pastorate  in  Lee  Center  was 
longer  than  that  of  any  other  minister  of  whatever  name. 

—  409  — 


"1  have  not  been  wont  to  consider  myself  an  old  settler  of  Lee  county. 
I  was  not  so  old  at  my  dropping  down  at  Lee  Center  in  1852,  that  I 
escaped  the  suggestion  of  being  a  'green  yatikee.' 

"As  for  the  'settle  idea,'  I  was  so  far  from  that  relation  to  the  prairie 
that  I  was  never  'settled'  at  all;  but  was  a  sojourner,  liable  to  be  hoisted 
any  year. 

"Old  settlers  were  there  already  in  their  snug,  hospitable  homes, 
which  timidly  hugged  the  edge  of  the  grove,  or  venturously  dotted  the 
treeless  expanse  of  prairie. 

"My  memory  of  Lee  Center  goes  back  to  a  time  six  years  antecedent 
to  '52,  even  less  suggestive  of  settlement,  as  the  creaking,  lumbering  mail 
coach,  attempting  to  wrestle  with  an  athletic  stump,  discourteously 
hurling  its  load  of  assorted  passengers  into  a  squirming  heap  of  hurnanitv, 
at  Inlet.  It  was  a  rather  unsettling  parenthesis  in  my  return  from  a 
courtship  trip  of  1,000  miles,  from  New  York  to  Galena.  Hardly  less 
vivid  is  the  memory  of  a  second  excursion,  in  a  'Frink  and  Walker'  stage 
from  Galena  to  Dixon  supplemented  by  a  hard  ride  through  soft  mud, 
with  a  deacon  (now  counted  among  the  faithful  departed)  to  the  village 
and  to  his  tidy  home. 

"Recollection  includes  one  old  settler  that  warned  us  (the  girl  I  did 
not  leave  behind  and  myself)  by  a  significant  rattle  to  vacate  a  wild 
strawberry  patch,  and  another  that  darted  venom  at  the  intrusive  wagon 
wheel  which  jolted  me  and  disturbed  him  at  early  dawn  near  BirdsaU 
bridge.  Along  with  these  recollections  go  that  of  a  cramped  schoolroom, 
adorned  with  meandering  stovepipe,  and  furnished  with  pedagogic  desk 
for  the  'green  yankee's'  wearying  attempts  at  sermonizing;  that  of  Sun- 
day school,  saved  from  midwinter  wreck  by  three  brave  Baptist  boys 
(Swartwouts);  of  Sunday  afternoon  rides  or  walks  to  out  stations,  through 
measureless  mud  or  snow,  or  in  the  face  of  a  blizzard  escaped  from  the 
land  of  the  Dakotas. 

"But  I  need  not  accumulate  these  reminiscences,  but  remind  you  that 
a  farewell  sermon  finished  a  sixteen  and  a  half  year  ministery  with  ex- 
pressions of  an  interest  that  has  never  been  repealed  in  the  people  of  my 
only  pastorate." 

A  sketch  from  Dr.  Ephriam  Ingals  gave  us  a  very  complete  description 
of  their  cabin  home,  and  of  the  times  when  he  pioneered  in  our  county 
Both  Dr.  Ingals  and  his  brother  are  now  living  in  Chicago,  enjoying  the 
richly-deserved  fruit  of  their  labors. 

In  the  fairof  1841  a  family  arrived  from  the  Knickerbocker  state,  con- 
sisting of  Mr.  Bradford  Church,  his  wife  and  three  daughters.  We  have 

—  410  — 


a  lively  remembrance  of  this  couple,  so  long  interested  in  all  that  per* 
tained  to  Lee  Center  and  her  people.  The  lively  wit  and  humor  of  the 
one  and  the  quiet  geniality  of  the  other  endeared  them  to  the  people  with 
whom  they  dwelt  nearly  fifty  years.  Mrs.  William  Ramsey,  a  daughter, 
writes:  "The  next  day  after  our  arrival,  being  Sunday,  we  all  went  to 
church  in  Palestine.  Agenerous  pioneer  had  kindly  thrown  open  his  res- 
idence for  an  assembly  room.  It  was  of  dimensions  most  fashionable  in 
those  days — no  trouble  to  have  crowded  congregations  then.  The  speaker 
was  a  Rev.  Baptist;  I  cannot  remember  his  text  or  subject,  just  one  word 
of  it  all  remains,  i.  e.:  "Simplify."  I  think  Lee  Center  had  not  received 
ils  name  at  this  time.  Inlet  at  the  bridge  was  the  town,  with  two  saw 
mills,  a  store  and  a  few  mechanics.  Looking  back  I  can  see  but  little  of 
Lee  Center  except  a  house  with  its  ruof  sprouting  out  of  the  ground  and 
the  school  house  near  the  grove.  I  wish  the  school  house  had  been  left 
standing  until  now  in  its  unpretentiousness,  rough  benches  and  all.  It 
would  be  worth  a  pilgrimage  to  look  at  it.  But  its  ministers  were  neither 
rough  or  common.  Those  I  heard  there  in  the  winter  of  '41  were  Luke 
Hitchcock,  Philo  Judson  and  John  Hogan,  local  preacher  and  registrar  of 
land  office  in  Dixon. 

"Now  I  come  to  your  'We  want  all  we  can  get  about  the  women  arid 
their  work.'  My  dear,  do  you  realize  that  this  refers  to  the  woman  of 
fifty  years  ago?  What  can  you  expect?  She  had  not  yet  thought  of  de 
liverence  from  the  bondage  of  looking  well  to  the  ways  of  her  household. 
Frances  Willard  was  yet  in  her  infancy  and  Samantha  Allen  had  not 
been  dreamed  of.  Some  poet  has  written  'Noble  deeds  are  held  in 
honor,  but  the  wide  world  sadly  needs  hearts  of  patience  to  unravel  this, 
the  worth  of  common  deeds.'  Pure  religion  and  neighborly  kindness 
were  as  dear  to  woman's  heart  then  as  they  are  now,  and  I  think  the 
dear  words,  'she  hath  done  what  she  could,'  will  as  often  be  applied  to 
women  of  that  age  as  this.  Just  consider  for  a  moment  the  pioneer 
woman  in  the  midst  of  her  family,  her  toil  and  her  care,  with  six  pairs  of 
feet  and  hands  to  be  protected  from  the  rigors  of  this,  climate — one  slender 
pair  ot  hands  with  her  knitting  needles  to  accomplish  it;  not  as  a  busi- 
ness, oh,  no!  but  just  by  filling  up  every  spare  minute  'between  jobs. 
Then  they  had  their  neighborly  social  visits,  when  the  women  indulged 
in  pleasant  chat  and  mild  gossip,  keeping  time  with  their  knitting  nee- 
dles, while  their  'gude  men'  without  engaged  in  discussions  of  political 
economy,  reform,  etc. — and,  poor  dears,  they  seemed  just  as  happy  as  the 
women  of  these  days.  1  wonder  why  some  ingenious  writer  has  not 
taken  for  his  theme  'The  rise  and  fall  of  knitting  work  and  its  effect  on 

—  411  - 


the  republic."  A  bright  little  girl  friend  of  mine  says  she  'can  always 
tell  the  ladies  who  know  how  to  knit,  because  they  wear  their  hair  parted 
in  the  middle.'" 

1 1  is  a  source  of  regret  that  the  purpose  of  our  book  was  not  more  fully 
understood,  so  that  we  might  have  had  incidents  and  particulars  from 
the  experience  ot  many  of  them  to  make  our  story  more  complete  and 
more  interesting.  We  have  beside  those  named  or  referred  to  in  other 
parts  of  this  sketch  the  names  of  "Uncle  Russel"  Lynn  and  "Uncle  Dan" 
Frost  and  to  their  excellent  wives  not  one  word  of  honor  has  been  given. 
Dear  "Aunt  Abbie!"  and  "Aunt  Eulalia!"  we  pause  to  linger  over  their 
narne«,  yet  realize  that  their  quiet  unobtrusive  lives  furnished  little  for 
the  pen  of  a  historian.  But  in  not  a  few  homes  in  Lee  County,  and  in 
distant  lands  as  well,  are  there  those  who  rise  up  and  call  them  blessed, 
whose  lives  have  been  consecrated  to  higher  and  nobler  purposes  by  their 
influence  and  prayers,  and  eternity  only  can  measure  the  widening  circle 
of  that  influence  and  those  prayers.  Would 'there  were  more  such 
mothers!  more  such  women!  and  with  these  dear  faces  comes  a  throng  of 
others— the  noble  pioneer  women  of  Lee  Center  who  bore  bravely  and  un- 
complainingly the  "burden  and  heat  of  the  day" — Mrs.  Luke  Hitchcock, 
Mrs.  Birctsall  (her  mother),  Mrs.  Warnick,  Mrs.  John  H.Gardner,  and  her 
successor,  "Aunt  Lydia,"  and  many  more  whose  names,  omitted  here, 
are  written  on  high  in  letters  of  living  light. 

We  cannot  refrain  from  quoting  a  closing  paragraoh  from  an  author 
who  appreciates  the  heroes  of  the  past:  "The  pioneer!  Who  shall  fitly 
tell  the  story  of  his  life  and  work!  The  soldier  leads  an  assault.  It  lasts 
but  a  few  micutes.  He  knows  that  whether  he  lives  or  dies  immortality 
will  be  his  reward.  But  when  the  soldier  of  peace  assaults  tho  wilderness 
no  bugle  sounds  the  charge.  The  frost,  the  wild  beast,  malaria,  fatigue 
are  the  foes  that  lurk  to  ambush  him.  and  if  against  the  unequal  odds  he 
alls,  no  volleys  are  fired  above  him.  The  pitiless  world  merely  sponges 
his  name  from  its  slate.  Thus  he  blazes  the  trail;  thus  he  fells  the  trees? 
thus  he  plants  his  stakes;  thus  he  faces  the  hardships  and  whatever  fate 
awaits  him,  and  his  self-contained  soul  keeps  his  finger  on  his  lips  and  no 
lamentations  are  heard.  Not  one  in  a  thousand  realizes  the  texture  of 
the  manhood  that  has  been  exhausting  itself  within  him.  Few  compre- 
hend his  nature  or  have  any  conception  of  his  work.'' 

ANNA  E.  WOODBRTDGB. 


MR.    VOLNEY    BLISS. 


MRS.   VOLNEY   BLISS. 


VOLNEY  BLISS  was  born  in  Huron  County,  Ohio,  in  1828.  About 
1830  his  parents  moved  to  Kalamazoo,  Michigan,  from  which  place 
they  Ccime  in  the  spring  of  1834  to  Inlet  and  settled  by  the  grove 
which  long  bore  the  name  of  Bliss'  Grove  before  it  became  generally 
known  as  Palestine  Grove.  At  that  time  there  were  several  hundred  In» 
clians  within  a  few  rods  of  Mr.  Bliss'  cabin.  Government  was  slow  in 
settling  with  them  and  they  were  waiting  for  their  money,  blankets, 
guns,  etc..  before  going  to  Council  Bluffs.  It  was  nearly  two  ytars  before 
"Uncle  Sam"  had  them  paid,  but  there  were  no  railroads  or  telegraph 
lines  then  and  everything  moved  slowly.  The  young  braves  were  Mr. 
Bliss'  only  playfellows.  Like  Mr.  Dixon  at  the  ferry,  his  father,  Mr. 
Adolphus  Bliss,  was  the  first  white  man  in  this  vicinity. 

He  opened  a  stage  house,  for  he  lived  on  the  direct  route  from  Chicago 
to  Dixon,  and  Chicago  was  for  a  time  his  postofflce. 

Just  one  year  after  Mr.  Bliss  came,  John  Dexter  arrived  and  settled  six 
miles  farther  west  Then  they  had  a  neighbor.  Mrs.  Dexter  once 
walked  all  the  way  to  Mr.  Bliss'  after  fire.  One  would  think  it  must  have 
kone  out  before  she  could  reach  home  with  it.  The  next  year  the  Ingals 
family  came  to  the  grove.  It  was  really  getting  quite  thickly  settled. 

One  can  hardly  hear  of  an  old  settler  now  who  did  not  come  through 
"Inlet."  Bliss'  Stage  House  has  many  associations.  All  the  memories 
that  cluster  around  the  old  stage  coach  arrivals  with  their  human  bur- 
dens and  the  mails,  and  the  "underground  railroad"  are  gathered  around 
this  place.  Mr.  John  Cross  had  his  advertisement  fastened  up  beside 
that  of  Frink  and  Walker.  Here  was  opened  the  first  school  in  Lee 
County,  with  Miss  Ann  Chamberlain  as  teacher. 

Mr.  Bliss  is  gifted  with  unusual  powers  of  observation  and  memory, 
and  he  can  give  authentic  information  upon  almost  every  event  of  inter- 
est which  transpired  within  his  range  of  knowledge.  It  is  a  pleasure  to 
learn  from  him,  und  amusing  to  note  how  exactly  his  memory  serves  him 
in  little  particulars  which  most  people  forget.  He  remembers  Peter 

—  417  — 


Cartright  and  the  si/e  of  his  saddle-bags,  and  just  how  some  preachers 
talked;  and  many  lively  incidents  which  would  make  a  volume  worth 
possessing.  He  could  give  an  abstract  from  memory  of  every  homestead 
that  he  knew.  At  a  glance  he  takes  in  comparative  distances  and  local- 
ities and  every  little  object  in  view.  He  has  a  faculty  of  describing  any- 
thing and  presenting  it  to  another's  mind  so  clearly  in  few  words  that  it 
is  easier  to  remember  it  than  to  forget  it.  What  a  teacher  he  would  have 
made — or  artist,  or  guide  over  the  pathless  wilderness  or  ocean.  In  1842, 
at  the  age  of  fourteen  years,  he  went  to  Chicago  to  work  in  the  office  of 
the  Chicago  Democrat,  published  by  "Long  John  Wentworth."  The  office 
was  at  107  Lake  street,  over  Sherman  &  Pitkin's  d-ry  goods  store.  Lake, 
Water  arid  Randolph  streets  were  then  about  the  only  ones  which  had 
buildings  on  them.  That  was  the  time  when  farmers  carried  grain,  pork 
etc.  to  Chicago  through  the  sloughs,  and  when  it  took  a  week  to  go  and 
return. 

After  Mr.  Bliss  returned  home — his  father  having  died — he  attended 
school  two  winters  at  Dixon,  making  his  home  in  the  family  of  Judge 
Heaton,  who  was  his  guardian. 

When  the  war  came  he  enlisted  in  Co.  D,  15th  Ills.  Regt.,  and  became 
first  lieutenant  in  Sherman's  arm}:  was  transferred  from  17th  corps  to 
the  Western  Division,  and  finished  service  on  the  plains,  remaining  to 
the  close  of  the  war,  his  headquarters  being  at  Fort  Kearney  and  Fort 
Leavenworth. 

Mr.  Bliss  was  married  in  1853  to  Miss  Pauline  Treadwell  of  Susque- 
hanna  Co.,  Pa.,  Rev.  Joseph  Gardner  performing  the  marriage  service. 
Mr.  Bliss  says  they  "celebrated  President  Pierce's  inauguration  in  that 
way."  Mrs.  Bliss,  like  her  husband,  has  an  excellent  memory.  She  was 
personally  acquainted  with  some  of  those  people  whose  career  in  this 
state  will  ever  be  remembered  by  many  with  interest.  Her  kindness  of 
heart  has  endeared  her  to  many,  who  in  sickness  or  trouble  immediately 
send  for  her;  and  her  unselfishness  is  as  proverbial  as  that  of  her  hus- 
band. On  the  death  of  a  beloved  niece  they  adopted  the  little  mother- 
less one,  but  it  was  not  long  spared  to  them. 

Mr.  Bliss  has  been  justice  of  the  peace  for  fourteen  years  and  assessor 

of  Lee  Center  township  for  twenty  years. 

Mus.  D.  C.  CHASE. 


TBe 


Ttie  Wefty 


MY  father,  David  Welty,  was  born  in  Williamsville,  New  York.  He 
inherited  a  considerable  fortune  and  was  considered  wealthy  as 
riches  were  rated  at  that  early  day.  He  was  an  invalid  and  it 
was  believed  that  should  he  remain  in  the  east  his  days  would  not  be 
long  in  the  land.  His  family  physician,  Dr.  White  of  Buffalo,  advised 
him  to  go  west,  to  make  the  entire  journey  on  horseback  and  settle  on  a 
farm  so  as  to  have  the  benefit  of  open  air  exercise.  He  accordingly  in 
the  year  of  1838  started  from  Buffalo,  mounted  upon  a  thoroughbred 
mare  presented  by  a  friend,  whose  name  I  have  now  forgotten.  He  was 
accompanied  by  several  young  men  upon  his  first  day's  journey,  among 
whom  was  A.  L.  Porter,  who  shortly  afterwards  removed  to  Dixon.  The 
next  morning  after  the  first  day  when  father  resumed  his  journey  west- 
ward these  young  gentlemen,  citizens  of  Buffalo,  each  bid  him  a  final 
goodbye  with  the  firm  belief  that  they  would  soon  hear  of  his  death.  It 
is  a  remarkable  fact  that  father  outlived  them  all.  The  entire  journey 
from  Buffalo  to  Dixon's  Ferry,  as  it  was  then  called,  was  successfully 
made  by  him  on  horseback. 

The  following  year  he  sent  for  his  family,  consisting  of  mother  and 
myself.  We  were  accompanied  by  Grandfather  and  Grandmother  Scott, 
went  by  steamer  via  the  lakes  to  Chicago,  and  thence  by  stage  to  Dixon. 
Father  remained  with  his  family  about  a  year  in  Dixon  and  then  settled 
upon  the  land  preempted  by  him  on  the  Inlet  Creek  (Green  River),  in 
what  is  now  Marion  Township. 

It  was  related  to  me  by  father  that  when  mother  looked  upon  the 
long  stretches  of  prairie,  utterly  devoid  of  houses,  trees,  or  any  other  evi- 
dences of  civilization— or  uncivilization,  for  that  matter — for  the  Indians 
had  fled— she  exercised  her  woman's  prerogative  and  sat  down  for  a  two 
weeks'  cry.  She  gave  her  undivided  attention  to  the  business  in  hand- 
that  of  weeping.  The  contrast  between  the  city  of  Buffalo  with  its  charm- 
ing society  and  the  bleak  bare  prairies  of  Illinois  was  too  great,  the  trans- 

—  421  — 


formation  too  sudden  for  this  refined  young  woman,  so  there  was  nothing 
left  her  to  do  but  to  just  open  the  tear  ducts  and  cry  it  out. 

But  time,  that  merciful  assuager  of  all  griefs,  at  last  reconciled  her 
to  pioneer  life.  Old  friends  and  acquaintances  began  to  remove  from  the 
east  and  settle  in  Dixon  or  tlie  vicinage. 

A  double  log  house  was  built  on  the  farm,  the  lumber  for  the  doors 
and  window  sash,  flooring,  shingles,  etc.,  had  to  be  hauled  by  teams  of 
horses  from  Chicago.  This  was  about  1840.  The  floors  of  the  house  were 
covered  with  velvet  and  Brussels  carpet  and  costly  rugs,  the  furniture  was 
of  mahogany  and  walnut— all  brought  from  the  east.  The  contrast  be- 
tween that  log  house  and  its  belongings  was  so  great  as  to  excite  the 
wonder  and  admiration  of  strangers  from  the  east  who  chanced  to  alight 
from  the  stages  and  enter  our  pioneer  home.  Many  amusing  anecdotes 
as  to  this  were  recounted  by  mother.  Our  house  at  the  farm  was  on  the 
stage  road  leading  from  Peoria  to  Galena.  There  were  for  many  years 
only  three  houses  between  Dixon  and  Princeton,  i.  e.,  one  at  "Dad  Joe's" 
Grove,  one  on  the  south  side  of  Palestine  Grove  and  the  other  in 
which  we  lived.  After  all,  if  my  boyhood  recollection  serves  me  rightly — 
father  having  nearly  recovered  his  health,  this  circumstance,  together 
with  many  visitors  and  sleighing  and  dancing  parties  at  our  house,  im- 
provised by  the  young  folks  of  Dixon,  made  us  all  quite  contented  and 
happy  in  our  new  home.  In  a  few  years  our  parents  moved  back  to  Dixon 
and  lived  at  that  place  and  at  the  farm  alternately  until  their  death. 

Of  those  who  were  contemporaneous  pioneers  with  them  I  now  recall 
the  names  of  Major  Sterling,  Silas  Noble,  A.  L.  Porter,  John  Dixon,  the 
founder  of  the  town  of  Dixon,  and  his  sons  James  P.  and  John  jr.,  Gil- 
breth,  James  and  Dan  McKenney,  Henry  McKenney,  Lorenzo  Wood, 
George  Chase,  Judge  Heaton,  l;Than"  Porter,  Dr.  Everett,  Paul  Gallup, 
Col.  Dement.  Max  Alexander,  E.  B.  Stiles,  and  McBoel  (pronounced  Buel). 
The  last  named  was  a  fine  performer  on  the  violin  and  an  all  round  artist. 
I  remember  that  during  a  presidential  campaign  in  which  Henry  Clay 
was  the  Whig  candidate  the  ladios  desired  Mr.  McBoel  to  paint  them  a 
banner  with  a  likeness  of  Clay  thereon,  to  be  presented  to  the  Whig 
Campaign  Club.  There  was  no  picture  of  Cla>  extant  to  copy  from  at 
that  time  in  that  "neck  of  the  woods,"  and  so  poor  Mac,  who  was  always 
a  gallant  knight  in  his  conduct  towards  the  ladies,  and  regarded  himself 
in  honor  bound  to  please  them,  was  put  to  his  trumps  for  a  portrait  from 
which  to  copy  Clay's  picture  upon  the  banner.  So,  as  a  last  resort,  be 
began  to  inquire  around  among  the  people  as  to  the  general  appearance 
of  the  great  Con. moner.  Alas!  none  had  overseen  him  save  old  Doctor 

-  422  — 


.Jerry  Coggswell,  a  prominent  character  of  the  town.  Jerry  said  unto 
Mac.  "paint  a  picture  of  a  man  about  six  feet  high,  of  slender  build, with 
small  feet  and  small  white  hands,  a  long  head  with  a  high  forehead,  large 
ears,  and  when  that  is  done  paint  in  the  middle  of  his  face  a  big  cattish 
mouth.''  The  caricature  of  Clay  was  then  painted  on  the  banner  by  Mac 
according  to  the  description  of  him  as  given  by  Jerry,  the  banner  pre- 
sented with  due  form  and  ceremony  by  the  ladies  to  the  club  in  a  neat 
little  speech  composed  by  Mrs.  Nancy  Noble,  wife  of  Col.  Silas  Noble. 

These  early  pioneers  of  the  Rock  River  Valley  were  absolutely  ex  opti- 
ma optime  of  the  east,  "generous  to  a  fault,"  they  helped  each  other  in 
the  trials  and  tribulations  incident  to  that  early  day.  They  were  men 
and  women  of  education  and  refinement,  they  were  self-reliant,  independ- 
ent, bold  and  daring,  and  with  their  coadjutors  builded  a  commonwealth 
which  is  at  once  the  pride  and  glory  of  the  whole  country — a  common- 
wealth that  gave  us  Lincoln  and  Grant  and  according  to  its  population 
sent  more  young  men  into  the  army  for  the  preservation  of  the  govern- 
ment than  any  other  state  in  the  union. 

But  Father  Time  with  a  gentle  hand  has  at  last  drawn  about  many  of 
them  the  shades  of  the  evening  of  their  useful  lives;  others  are  dead — 
have  passed  over  into  the  dark  shadow  of  the  valley  of  doath.  Over  them, 
"Twilight  has  pulled  the  curtain  down  and  pinned  it  with  a  star."  Peace 

to  their  ashes. 

JOHN  M.  WKLTY. 


Tfce 


ri      Pi©r2eer,s. 


WE  naturally  and  rightfully  dwell  upon  our  comforts  as  compared 
with  those  of  our  ancestors  or  predecessors,  and  it  seems  most 
appropriate  that  in  this,  the  beginning  of  a  new  century  from 
"in  cuiintrv's  discovery,  we  pause  arid  gather  some  of  the  experiences  of 
the  past,  that  may,  perchance,  assist  the  historian  of  the  next  century, 
and  teach  some  lessons  to  the  coming  generation  of  the  expense  at  which 
its  blessings  have  been  bought.  It  is  certainly  true  that  in  many  ways 
life  has  today  new  and  peculiar  pleasures,  and  a  retrospect  may  help  us 
to  value  them  more  highly. 

The  broad,  free  west  had  been  the  land  of  many  a  youthful  dream, 
and  when  my  thoughts  turned  to  it  as  a  veritable  home  land  I  pictured 
some  spot  of  natural  beauty,  with  broad  outlook,  including  many  smiling 
homes  and  a  tranquil  lake  or  murmuring  stream,  as  my  home. 

I  am  not  a  pioneer.  My  first  glimpse  of  the  Prairie  state  was  on 
October  23,  1869,  when,  with  my  husband,  i  reached  Chicago  from  Provi- 
dence, R.  I.,  which  latter  place  we  left  October  21.  On  the  24th  we 
reached  "The  Kingdom"  and  received  a  most  hospitable  welcome  from 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  D.  J.  Wetherbee,  Mrs.  Wetherbee  being  my  husband's  sister. 
Mr.  Oilman  had  bargained  fora  tract  of  land  adjoining  Mr.  Wetherbee 
and  had  already  commenced  preparations  for  house-building.  We  re- 
mained in  Mr.  Wetherbee's  family  until  early  the  following  February, 
when  we  commenced  life  in  our  own  cottage,  which  in  process  of  time 
',vas  christened  ''Woodside." 

I  recall  very  vividly  the  wintry  morning  in  November  when  I  first  saw 
the  spot  upon  which  I  have  now  lived  more  than  a  score  of  years. 
Gradually  the  outook  has  widened,  but  on  ttiat  morning  the  blue  -sky 
above,  and  the  snow  mantled  oaks  around,  were  all  that  could  be  seen. 
Then  we  were  within  the  limits  of  the  town  of  China,  but  a  year  or  two 
after  the  township  WHS  divided  and  we  took  the  name  of  the  nearest  rai!- 

—  -127  - 


road  station,  Nachusa,  also  the  name  applied  to  the  pioneer  settler  at 
Dixon,  by  the  Indians,  which  I  once  heard  Father  Dixon  interpret  as 
signifying  ''white  long  hair." 

We  are  at  the  extreme  northwest  liaiit  of  Lee  county,  and  our  school 
district  is  about  equally  divided  between  the  counties  of  Ogle  and  Lee. 
Our  neighborhood  name  "Kingdom"  for  many  years  bore  no  enviable 
reputation,  socially,  and  then  carried  a  prefix  which  is  now  discarded. 
We  have  come  to  think  it  a  very  tolerable  place  in  which  to  live  and  that 
the  people  compare  favorably  with  other  rural  communities  with  similar' 
social  and  intellectual  advantages.  We  have  churches  at  different  points 
within  a  radius  of  four  miles,  namely:  At  Grand  Detour,  Nachusa  and 
Mt.  Union.  Twice  a  month  we  have  services  at  our  school  house,  under 
the  auspices  of  the  Evangelical  association,  which  have  been  kept  up  for 
more  than  twenty  years.  A  union  Sunday  school  was  organized  here  in 
18G8  by  Mrs.  S.  A.  Wetherbee.  and  superintended  by  her  as  lottg  as  she 
remained  in  the  community.  It  is  still  maintained  and  has  always  been 
an  "evergreen"  school.  It  is  now  superintended  by  Mr.  L.  R.  Floto, 
successor  to  John  McCollum.  We  have  also  quite  a  flourishing  L.  T.  L. 
and  a  Ladies'  Missionary  society. 

In  an  early  day  Cyrus  Chamberlin,  who  then  lived  where  Mr.  Wether- 
bee  now  does,  built  a  stone  school  house  and  donated  it  to  the  community. 
This  house  is  still  standing,  having  been  remodeled  into  a  tenant  house 
by  Mr.  Wetherbee.  Miss  Nancy  Teal,  now  the  wife  of  A.  O.  Brown, 
ex-mayor  of  Parsons,  Kansas,  was  one  of  the  first  teachers  here.  She 
remembers  that  her  salary  as  teacher  was  twelve  shillings  a  week.  Mr. 
Chamberlin  was  interested  in  the  school  and  his  dwelling  near.  The 
teacher  was  of  the  age  of  sixteen.  He  furnished  ner  with  a  tin  horn, 
instructing  her  that  should  she  require  any  assistance  to  "blow  the  horn' 
and  he  would  come.  After  a  time  one  of  the  pupils  was  refractory  and 
obstinate.  She  blew  the  horn.  Mr.  Chamberlin  responded.  She  laid 
the  case  before  him.  The  verdict  was  that  "the  boy  must  take  his  books 
and  go  home."  When  he  reached  home  and  told  his  story,  the  father 
seized  a  whip  and  hastened  to  the  school  house  to  chastize  the  teacher. 
Mr.  Chamberlin  caught  the  whip  from  his  hand  and  bade  him  "go  home 
and  teach  his  child  obedience."  The  pupil  returned  in  a  few  days,  con- 
fessed his  fault  and  gave  no  further  cause  of  complaint.  Mrs.  Brown 
has  for  many  year?  been  actively  engaged  in  Sunday  school  and  temper- 
ance work. 

About  the  year  1850  the  district  built  a  school  house,  locating  it  on  the 
boundary  bet.veen  Lee  and  Ogle  counties,  called  "the  Red,"  within 

—  428  — 


whose  walls  the  writer  taught  fcr  nearly  ten  years.  "The  Red"  in  turn 
wave  place  to  the  present  neat  structure,  built  in  1888.  Mr.  C.  C.  Bucka- 
loo  is  now  doing  acceptable  service  as  teacher  here. 

Mrs.  Isabel  Teal  relates  that  she  came  to  this  vicinity  from  New  York 
state  in  1836.  Her  husband,  Elias  Teal,  was  government  surveyor.  One 
season  he  had  much  business  in  that  line  on  the  west  side  of  the  Rock 
river,  and  moved  his  family  there  temporarily,  occupying  a  rude  house 
near  the  river.  Here  Mrs.  Teal  was  taken  sick.  Neighbors  were  distant. 
The  child  of  three  months  died  in  its  sick  mother's  arms.  They  were 
two  days  and  two  nights  without  food.  The  third  night,  late  in  the 
evening,  there  came  a  knock  at  the  door.  To  the  inquiry,  "who  is  there?" 
the  reply  was,  "a  friend."  It  proved  to  be  a  stranger  who  had  been 
waylaid  and  robbed.  When  he  took  in  the  situation,  he  kindly  minis- 
•tcd  to  the  needs  of  the  sick,  going  to  the  river  for  water,  for  which 
tney  hads  all  suffered,  and  under  Mrs.  Teal's  direction  prepared  them 
gruel,  and  then  departed,  calling  at  the  first  bouse  he  came  to,  to  apprise 
them  of  their  neighbor's  condition.  Help  soon  came  and  the  health  of 
both  was  speedily  restored. 

Immediately  following  this  experience  Mr.  Teal  returned  to  the  east 
side  of  the  river  and  purchased  the  land  upon  which  he  lived  during  the 
remainder  of  his  life.  The  price  paid  was  ten  shillings  per  acre.  Their 
house  was  of  logs  with  an  old  quilt  for  a  door  and  a  sliding  board  for  a 
window  No  mill  short  of  eighteen  miles;  nearest  market  Chicago. 
Mr.  Teal  once  took  some  pork  there  with  an  ox  t^am  and  had  to  sell  it 
at  one  dollar  per  cwt. 

There  were  no  ministers  of  the  gospel  here  in  those  days.  A  neigh- 
bor's child_died,  and  but  for  Mrs.  Teal  they  must  have  laid  it  to  rest 
with  no  word  of  Scripture  or  of  prayer.  There  was,  she  say,  one  dear, 
Christian  lady  half  a  mile  away,  Mrs.  Anthony,  with  whom  she  found 
solace.  They  used  to  run  together  for  sympathy  and  worship,  though 
timber  lay  between  their  homes  and  the  howling  wolves  often  seemed 
very  near.  Sometimes  she  became  almost  desperate,  but  for  her 
children's  sake  she  braved  her  hardships.  Of  her  nine  children,  seven 
v,ith  their  father,  have  gone  "the  way  of  all  the  earth."  Two  daughters 
remain,  both  in  the  west.  Mrs.  Teal  is  now  past  her  four  score  years 
and  retains  her  faculties  exceptionally  well.  Of  her  reminiscences 
then;  are  few  mirth-provoking  ones,  yet  she  was  quite  merry  over  one. 

There  was  to  be  a  government  land  sale  in  Dixon.  She  bad  some 
money  in  specie  that  she  had  brought  from  the  cast  and  would  like  to 
invest  it  in  land,  and  she  and  Mr.  Teal  determined  to  go  to  the  sale. 

—  42'J  — 


She  put  her  money  in  a  hand-bag,  concealing  it  beneath  a  circular  cloak 
which  she  wore.  The  land  did  not  go  to  suit  Mr.  Teal  and  they  made  no 
purchase.  They  went  to  a  public  house  for  dinner.  She  was  afraid  to 
lay  down  her  bag,  and  afraid  to  take  off  her  cloak  lest  it  be  seen,  and 
notwithstanding  they  had  a  "quail  pot  pie"  for  dinner,  which  dish  was  a 
great  favorite  of  hers,  she  was  so  cumbered  with  her  hand-bag  that  she 
could  not  enjoy  it.  Returning  home  the  cutter  up-set  in  the  snow,  her 
bag  string  broke  and  the  money  all  shelled  out.  What  could  she  do? 
There  was  no  alternative.  She  gathered  up  first  herself  and  then  gold, 
silver  and  snow  all  together,  having  many  fears  of  leaving  some  behind. 
But  when  she  reached  home  they  counted  it  and  found  not  a  pie'ce  miss- 
ing. 

Whoever  passes  Teal's  corner  to-day  and  looks  upon  the  broad  acr 
and  nice  buildings,  knowing  nothing  of  the  beginning,  could  have  litti 
idea  of  the  privations  and  hardships  that  have  brought  into  this  pleasing 
form  this  country  home. 

From  an  interview  with  Mrs.  Lewis  Floto  I  learn  that  with  her  hus- 
band and  eldest  daughter,  and  in  company  with  their  friends,  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  Herman  Bachman  and  their  little  son,  they  reached  Grand  Detour 
in  the  autumn  of  1850.  They  could  find  there  no  tenement  or  business, 
so  crossed  to  this  side  of  the  river.  About  two  miles  above  the  ferry  was 
a  log  house  of  two  rooms,  one  of  which  was  vacant,  the  other  was  to  be 
soon,  and  into  the  empty  one  the  two  families  went.  Mr.  Floto  made  a 
bedstead  of  fence  rails  and  upon  it  they  placed  their  straw  bed,  but  Mr. 
Bach  man  did  not  get  his  bedstead  done,  and  they  placed  their  straw  on 
the  floor  in  the  opposite  corner,  and  thus  they  spent  their  llrst  night  in 
their  new  home.  Their  table  was  improvised  from  rough  boards.  A  few 
benches,  left  by  a  former  tenant,  served  as  chairs.  The  house  was  old, 
made  of  logs  and  unceiled.  They  could  see  the  moon  and  stars  above,  by 
night,  and  the  sun  by  day.  A  short  time  after  they  moved  their  eldest 
son  was  born.  The  winter  was  cold  and  it  was  with  difficulty  that  they 
could  keep  warm.  Many  days  the  mother  was  obliged  to  keep  her  bed 
with  her  babe  that  it  might  be  comfortable. 

Mr.  Floto,  that  v,  inter,  chopped  wood  at  forty  cents  per  cord,  and 
boarded  himself.  When  spring  opened  he  found  employment  among  the 
farmers  at  seventy-live  cents  per  day  paid  in  provisions.  They  knew 
very  little  of  our  language  then  and  often  had  difficulty  in  understanding 
and  being  undeistood  in  their  intercourse  with  neighbors,  but  had  the 
advantage  of  some  foreigners,  inasmuch  as  there  were  two  families  and 
they  were  company  for  each  other.  As  long  as  Mr.  Bachman  lived  their 
homes  were  near. 

-  430  — 


Mr.  Fluto  lived  in  that  log  house  five  years.  After  the  first,  he  found 
employment  in  the  Grand  Detour  plow  shops.  The  wife  stayed  at  home, 
cared  for  her  increasing  family  and  in  summer  made  garden  and  grew 
vegetables  for  family  supply  and  for  the  village  market.  T